The Indianapolis Colts had to defeat the New England Patriots in the final regular-season game to assure themselves a place in the playoffs, and Marshall Faulk, their best player, was forced from the game in the first quarter because of a bruised knee.
Onto the field came Lamont Warren, who burst onto the scene with 90 yards in 22 carries and an additional 57 yards in six receptions to lift Indianapolis into the playoffs with a 10-7 victory.
"I thought I would gradually make a name for myself," Warren said before the game.
Warren, well known to family, friends and followers of Dorsey High in Los Angeles, left the University of Colorado early to be selected in the sixth round of the 1994 NFL draft by the Colts.
"I didn't leave Colorado because of playing behind Rashaan Salaam," Warren said. "I was basically getting moved out; they had lost confidence in me and didn't think I could get the job done."
Colorado's loss became the Colts' gain. Warren is expected to start again Sunday in place of the injured Faulk, who isn't expected to play when Indianapolis plays in the AFC championship game at Pittsburgh.
Colt Coach Ted Marchibroda talked about the team he took over in 1992: "They were 1-15 and deserved to be 1-15," Marchibroda said. "I used to go to practice and get a headache because they didn't do the things you assumed would be done at this level. You'd correct one thing and 10 minutes later you'd have to correct another. They'd defeat you almost. If you let them, they'd defeat you."
An Indianapolis psychic, Marilene Isaacs, has the AFC championship game already figured out: "I see the Colts in the Super Bowl," she said.