Garcon leads Colts back to Super Bowl - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Garcon leads Colts back to Super Bowl

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Lucas Oil Stadium before Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Lucas Oil Stadium before Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
Pierre Garçon displays a Haitian flag after the Colts' win Sunday. Pierre Garçon displays a Haitian flag after the Colts' win Sunday.

Indianapolis - The Indianapolis Colts are returning to the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns, including a go-ahead score to Pierre Garçon in the third quarter to lead the Colts to a 30-17 win over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game.

Garçon, who had relatives in Haiti during the earthquake, caught an AFC Championship-record 11 passes for 151 yards and the touchdown.

"Sometimes it is hard, but I use it as motivation, because they'd want me to good instead of be sad," Garçon said.

"He's had an emotional couple weeks with everything going on in Haiti. Really proud for him for stepping up and playing like he did today," Manning said of Garçon.

WATCH: Colts-Jets highlights (from NFL.com)

After the game, Garçon was again celebrating on the podium with a Haitian flag.

"It's a great day. I haven't had a good day in about two or three weeks," Garçon said.

The Colts will face New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV in Miami on February 7. The Saints beat Minnesota 31-28 in overtime Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game. It will be the Saints' first appearance in the Super Bowl.

"Our main goal is not just getting there, it's winning it," Colts' linebacker Gary Brackett said.

With the Jets defense focusing on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, who would catch an insurance score in the fourth quarter, Manning turned to Garçon and rookie Austin Collie. Collie had seven catches for 123 yards, including three straight receptions in a drive late in the second quarter, capped off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to pull Indianapolis within four at 17-13.

"Pierre was awesome. Collie didn't have any rookie look in his eye," Manning said about the young receivers. "After this many games, you become a veteran. They've gotten better through experience."

After Indianapolis took a 3-0 lead, the Jets answered quickly. Quarterback Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards for an 80-yard touchdown reception to give New York a 7-3 lead. The Jets defense stopped Collie inside the one and stuffed a Manning sneak, forcing a 21-yard field goal from Matt Stover.

Sanchez again led the Jets down the field, hitting former Purdue tight end for a touchdown to push the lead to 14-6. On the next series, Colts running back Joseph Addai fumbled in Colts territory. New York capitalized with a 48-yard Jay Feely field goal, giving them a 17-6 advantage.

"He played great. We knew we were going to have to make him beat us with is arm. That guy has ice in his veins," said Colts linebacker Clint Session.

From there, it was all about the Colts and their defense.

"We showed once again we can fight from behind and come back and win a ballgame," said Colts defensive back Jacob Lacey. "It's an indescribable feeling."

Much was said about the Jets' league-leading defense coming into the game, but given time, the Colts were able to take control.

"We were able to keep those guys off the board in the second half. You could see our defense, I think we got faster as the game went on," linebacker Gary Brackett said.

"They had a great game plan. They came in there, they executed well. We gotta give our hats off, they've got a great team, a great defense, but we were able to pull it out in the end," said defensive end Raheem Brock. "Everybody was just eager to make plays. We just had to settle down and relax and that's what we did in the second half."

After the game, some of the Colts defenders said they heard the chatter about the Jets' defensive prowess.

"Like we've always said, talk is cheap. It's about going out there and playing football," said Brackett.

The Colts held the Jets, who led the league in rushing average in the regular season, to just 86 yards on the ground, including just 41 for running back Shonn Greene, who left the game injured in the second half.

"We did a great job with the run. We made them do it through the air and, as luck would have it, there was a bounce-off interception," said team president Bill Polian. "We did a really good job on defense and the offense was just marvelous."

The rally was nothing new for the Colts, who have made a habit out of second half comebacks this year.

"We've been down before. I think that worked in our favor. A different person every time comes up big," said defensive back Melvin Bullitt.

"The guys have always been a really confident bunch. They do a great job of hanging in there and don't panic," said head coach Jim Caldwell.

"We've been down before. We really didn't panic, just needed one touchdown," Garcon said.

Caldwell, in his first year at the helm of the Colts, is just the fifth rookie coach to reach the Super Bowl. Only two of the previous first-year coaches have won the title game.

Manning reaction

"We talked about being patient against these guys," said Peyton Manning. "We knew it would be a four-quarter game."

Manning praised the Jets' "excellent defense," but said the Colts "stayed patient" and "didn't panic." And then they "started beating them with the passing game.

Manning called going to the Super Bowl again "very special" - in particular, getting the championship win at Lucas Oil Stadium "here at home with the best fans in the world."

With a shot at Jets' Coach Rex Ryan's bluster all week, Manning called his bunch of guys "very humble."

"We kept our mouths shut and went to work and won this game. We're hoping for no rain in Miami," he said.

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