The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied past Indianapolis 24-17, sending the Colts to their first 0-4 start since Peyton Manning’s rookie season in 1998.
LeGarrette Blount had a 35-yard touchdown run with 3:15 remaining to snap a 17-17 tie last night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Buccaneers trailed 17-10 in the third quarter before scoring two touchdowns in the final 16 minutes. Tampa Bay improved to 3-1, while the Colts fell to 0-4 without Manning, a four-time National Football League Most Valuable Player who hasn’t recovered from neck surgery.
Curtis Painter made his debut as the Colts’ starting quarterback and passed for 281 yards, with touchdowns of 87 and 59 yards to Pierre Garcon. Painter, a sixth-round draft pick in 2009, completed 4-of-11 passes in the fourth quarter and was sacked three times.
The Colts turned to Painter after 38-year-old Kerry Collins was knocked out of last week’s loss to Pittsburgh with a concussion and didn’t practice ahead of yesterday’s game.
Blount finished with 127 rushing yards for the Buccaneers, while quarterback Josh Freeman threw for one touchdown and ran for another. Tampa Bay has won three straight games since a season-opening loss against the 4-0 Detroit Lions.
The Colts are the fourth team to open the season with four straight losses after the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins.
Indianapolis has its longest losing streak since dropping five in a row in 2001, the last season the Colts missed the playoffs. In Manning’s rookie season, the Colts started 0-4 and finished 3-13.