The Indianapolis Colts set up a day to retire former quarterback Peyton Manning's jersey. Lucas Oil Stadium was covered in blue towels and No. 18 jerseys.
Coming off an overtime loss to Arizona, the San Francisco 49ers showed up to try and spoil the celebration.
The best the 49ers could do was extend the game into overtime, and watch veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri kick a 51-yard field goal to win the game for the Colts.
The 49ers' offense started quickly, with wide receiver Pierre Garçon making five catches for 51 yards. Its opening drive ended in the first of three Robbie Gould field goals, who finished the day 3-for-3 and kicked his 300th career field goal.
Once again, inconsistency plagued the 49ers offense after the opening drive. Garçon didn't have another target or catch until late in the second quarter, and the 49ers could only scrounge a field goal to close the half.
"We had opportunities there, and we didn't get it done," said Shanahan. "When you go through something like this, you face a lot of adversity. But you find out what your guys are made of."
After halftime, the offense found more of a rhythm and found greater success moving the ball despite veteran running back Carlos Hyde sharing time with rookie Matt Breida. Hyde finished the day with 11 yards on eight rushing attempts, and Brieida had ten carries for 49 yards.
"We got three backs that are up, and we go with the hot hand," said head coach Kyle Shanahan. "We felt that Breida had a hot hand."
Today's game was also former 49er Frank Gore's first game against his old team. Gore had 14 carries for 48 yards, but rookie running back Marlon Mack had nine carries for 91 yards.
As the game wore on, the 49ers' secondary had trouble covering receiver T.Y. Hilton who finished the day with seven catches for 177 yards. Hilton had a long catch of 63-yards in the fourth quarter that helped set up a Colts touchdown.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh did his best to halt the Colts' passing attack and was rotating cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon, Rashard Robinson, and Dontae Johnson. Witherspoon was making his first start of the year, but suffered a head injury in the first half, and did not return.
In the fourth quarter, the 49ers' defense had no answers to stop the Colts, giving up a 63-yard reception to wide receiver Hilton. Brissett scrambled for a score to put the Colts up 23 to 9 with 9:56 left.
However, the 49ers offense rallied, putting together an explosive five-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that ended a 22-possession touchdown drought.
On the third play of the drive, Hoyer found a streaking Marquise Goodwin in the deep middle of the field for a 51-yard gain. Goodwin, who suffered a concussion against Arizona, had his first 100-yard game as a 49er. He tallied five catches for 116 yards.
Three plays later, fullback Kyle Juszczyk took a Hoyer shovel pass over left guard to score the 49ers' first touchdown of the day and put the game within seven points.
The Colts took the ensuing kickoff, but only gained eight yards and were forced to punt.
Hoyer brought the 49ers out for their 10th possession of the game and found rookie tight end George Kittle on the first play for a gain of 21 yards. The 49ers also found a touch of luck on a tipped pass that Garçon hauled in for a 13-yard gain. Garçon finished the day with eight catches for 94 yards.
Responding to Garçon's catch, Hoyer said, "It got guys jacked up. Finally, one bounced our way."
On this drive, Kittle was Hoyer's primary target, catching four passes and the touchdown with 24 seconds left on the clock. Gould connected on the PAT to tie the game, and the Colts took a knee to run out the remaining 20 seconds of regulation.
"We've got high expectations for Kittle," said Shanahan. "He's done some good things for us in the run and pass game. That last drive in the fourth quarter, he showed up big time for us."
The Colts won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. Brissett had the offense rolling, and on the sixth play, found Hilton downfield for a gain of 46 yards. Four plays earlier, Hilton walked off the field after colliding with 49ers defensive back Rashard Robinson.
With the Colts in prime position to score a touchdown in overtime, linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong came up with a critical interception of Brissett and returned it to the 49ers' 28-yard line.
Hoyer could not harness the momentum from the turnover. He led a five-play drive that got the 49ers to their 45-yard line but could not convert the turnover into points.
Hoyer did finish the day 29-for-46, with 353 yards in the air and two touchdown passes.
"One of these days, it's going to go the right way for us," said Hoyer. "I don't see anyone in that locker room who's having conversations in the corner and blaming it on another."
Punter Bradly Pinion punted the ball to the Colts' 18-yard line. Brissett directed an eight-play drive that put the Colts in field goal range from the 49ers' 33-yard line.
With 1:43 left in overtime, Vinatieri booted the game-winning field goal from 51-yards away.
"When those guys come back on Wednesday, it's back to work," said Shanahan. "It's human nature to get down when it's like this. That's what I love about sports. You get to find out who you are and what you're made of."
The last four of the 49ers' losses are by a combined total of 11 points. Next week, they travel east to take on Washington (2-2), which is coming off a bye week.
|10 (77)||Penalties (Yds)||7 (62)|
|6 (46)||Punts (Avg)||4 (48)|
|31:05||Time of Pos.||37:17|
|49ers Player Stats|
|Colts Player Stats|