No Super Bowl for Testaverde
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
INDIANAPOLIS — New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski did his best Adam Vinatieri imitation in the New England Patriots' 38-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's AFC Championship.
With the man he replaced on the opposite sideline, Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard field goal with 7:45 left to give the Patriots a 31-28 lead.
When Vinatieri tied the game with a 36-yarder with 5:35 left, Gostkowski, the rookie from Memphis, kicked back. With 3:49 to go, Gostkowski hit a 43-yarder to put the Patriots back in the lead, 34-31.
Last week, Gostkowski hit the game-winner, a 31-yarder, with 1:10 left to defeat San Diego 24-21.
Patriots backup quarterback Vinny Testaverde again was denied a trip to the big game.
A Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Miami, Testaverde has gotten close during his long career.
After leading the New York Jets to their first AFC East title in 1998, he helped them to a 10-0 lead over Denver in the AFC Championship game. But John Elway, in his final season, rallied the Broncos to a 23-10 victory and then to their second straight Super Bowl title.
Testaverde is on his seventh stop with five franchises.
Hobbs' big returns
New England's Ellis Hobbs had two huge runbacks in the second half to make things difficult for the Colts.
After the Colts tied the game at 21 in the third quarter, Hobbs returned the kickoff 80 yards, which led to a Patriots touchdown five plays later.
When the Colts tied the game at 31 in the fourth quarter, Hobbs returned the kickoff 41 yards, leading to a field goal by Gostkowski that gave the Patriots a 34-31 lead.
Asante Samuel tied a career NFL playoff record with his third interception return for a touchdown Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship game against the Colts.
Samuel, in his fourth season, matched the mark held by Willie Brown, who spent 16 seasons in the NFL — four with Denver and the last 12 with Oakland. During the regular season, Samuel tied Champ Bailey of Denver for the NFL lead with 10 interceptions.
Samuel scored on a 39-yard interception return against Peyton Manning as New England took a 21-3 lead over Indianapolis with 9:25 left in the first half. He also scored on a 36-yard return for the final touchdown in a 37-16 win over the New York Jets in the wild-card game.
The cornerback's first playoff touchdown came on a 73-yard return in last season's 28-3 win over Jacksonville.
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