INDIANAPOLIS — It was on the same M&T Bank Stadium field.
It was Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens.
There was Tony Dungy looking on as Adam Vinatieri knocked down one, two, three, four, five field goals as his Colts stunned the Ravens, 15-6, and silenced 70,000 fans — many of whom still absolutely loathe the franchise they used to call theirs.
The cameras caught Dungy’s reaction after each Vinny trey.
Money, he said to anyone and everyone.
Active Colts coach Shane Steichen could have been forgiven for stealing Dungy’s act.
Sixteen-and-a-half years after Vinny kicked the Ravens to the curb in an AFC Divisional Round game, Matt Gay put a similar performance together.
Well, he actually one-upped one of the greatest kickers in NFL history.
The Colts, 8-point underdogs coming in, exited M&T Bank Stadium late Sunday afternoon as Gay knocked down one, two, three, four, five field goals in a 22-19 overtime upset.
As for upstaging Vinatieri? Gay’s five field goals tied a franchise record, which Vinny accomplished twice.
But he set an NFL record by converting four 50-plus yarders: 54, 53, 53 and the game-winning 53-yarder with 1 minute, and nine seconds remaining in overtime.
Now that’s money, which is appropriate considering the criticism general manager Chris Ballard received in March when he made Gay the second-highest paid kicker in NFL history. His four-year, $22.5 million free-agent contract ($5.65 million per season) trailed only the Ravens’ Justin Tucker ($6 million annually).
The team’s video crew captured jubilant players bouncing from the field.
“Matthew is a dog,’’ punter and holder Rigoberto Sanchez said.
And this from wideout Juwann Winfree — “That’s why he gets paid the big bucks!”
There was no disagreement.
“He was on fire,’’ Steichen said. “Glad we got him … Great kicker, obviously, and he proved it today.’’
What unfolded — again — at M&T Bank Stadium should have surprised no one. Since 2021, Gay has been just this side of perfect — 66-of-70. That’s 94.3%. For his career, he’s a ridiculous 21-of-27 on attempts of at least 50 yards. That’s 77.8%.
“He was incredible,’’ offered wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. “I mean, he just saved the day.
“Superhero cape, and he just did it today.’’
Linebacker Zaire Franklin was the catalyst for a defense that made a ton of critical plays against the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens offense — 15 tackles, 1 sack, a tackle for loss — and felt comfortable settling into postgame analyst mode regarding Matt Gay.
“That boy was nailing them, you know what I mean?’’ Franklin told reporters in the locker room. “People underestimate the power of the kicking game.’’
Franklin added he’s superstitious whenever the Colts’ kicker trots onto the field.
“I just let them do it,’’ he said. “He’s going to kick it, it’s going to go and I just try not to think about it.’’
In other words, Franklin has the same approach as his kicker.
Gay was unable to give a detailed step-by-step of his dramatic field goal other than to admit he “was in a pretty good groove at that point and time of the game.’’
“Was really just kind of in that blackout mode where I wasn’t thinking too much,’’ Gay said. “And so, when it came down to that last one, be able to trust the snap, the hold, the protection. Can’t do it without those guys.
“It was a good snap, a good hold and was able to go ahead and make it.’’
If you need more details, ask someone else.
“For me, it’s like I couldn’t tell you what happened,’’ Gay said. “Like, I don’t remember the snap, the hold. I’m kind of just like the snap goes, and I go and then I’m looking up and I see the ball.
“For me, it’s a good sign when I’m not thinking about anything. I’m just kicking.’’
The concern in the hours leading up the game involved the playing surface. Tropical Storm Ophelia saturated the Baltimore area and the rest of the East Coast Saturday, and there was lingering rain Sunday.
Gay prefers not to dwell on what the conditions might be.
“I try to just block that out until I know what I’m getting,’’ he said. “Get to the stadium and feel it out.
“The field was in great condition. They tarped it up. It was a little wet in the beginning; we had a little mist in the first half. For the most part . . . it was good conditions.’’
And it was a great finish.
The Colts returned home 2-1 for the first time since a 3-1 start in 2020, and sit atop the AFC South.
Credit an offense that was without rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson (concussion) and Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly (concussion), but rallied around backup QB Gardner Minshew and running back Zack Moss.
Minshew made just his fifth start in three seasons and was 27-of-44 for 227 yards and an exquisite 17-yard touchdown to Moss despite suffering five sacks, including three from safety and Notre Dame standout Kyle Hamilton. Moss hammered away at the Ravens 30 times for 122 yards. Both are career-highs.
And credit a defense that occasionally lost track of Jackson — 14 carries, 101 yards, two TDs — but never allowed the Ravens to create separation. It finished with four sacks and six tackles for loss.
With Baltimore driving for a potential game-winning Tucker field goal in the fourth quarter, Kwity Paye got to Jackson for a 10-yard sack and Kenny Moore II batted down a deep pass over the middle intended for Devin Duvernay.
Jackson’s 18-yard completion to Nelson Agholor on third-and-20 gave the Ravens a shot at winning in regulation, but Tucker was oh-so-short on a 61-yard field goal.
With 3 minutes and 25 seconds remaining in overtime, Baltimore faced a fourth-and-3 at the Indianapolis 47. Linebacker E.J. Speed foiled Jackson’s toss to Zay Flowers, perhaps getting away with hooking Flowers around the waist in the process.
In the first quarter, with the Ravens looking to add to their 7-0 lead, Jackson and Kenyan Drake collaborated on a 24-yard completion, but rookie cornerback JuJu Brents — making his first NFL appearance — chased down Drake and forced a fumble he also recovered.
“Our defense, they continue to prove it week-in and week-out,’’ Steichen said. “They’re playing physical. They’re on the same page.
“It’s never perfect, but it was just a great, great team win.’’
And credit Matt Gay.
He earned the monster payday in March, and really began earning it Sunday afternoon. It’s games like this when a kicker unequivocally earns the trust of his teammates.
“I think that’s huge,’’ Gay said. “As much as you do in practice … you try to get that respect of your teammates, that trust. But nothing does it like a game.
“Now having those guys be able for me to trust them and them to look at me in that fashion, I think it’s huge for us a team going forward.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter/X at @mchappell51.