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GROWTH CONTINUES

Posted Dec 2, 2012

Andrew Luck on Sunday directed two late touchdown drives to wipe out a 12-point deficit in a 35-33 win. It was his eighth starting win as a rookie, a new NFL record. Luck has performed in dramatic fashion along with his teammates, and the Colts moved one step closer to extending a season beyond 16 games.

INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck would be the first to say that any accomplishment made in football is because of the work of many people.

 

Luck has been near the epicenter of the Colts’ 2012 run that has the team at 8-4 entering the final quarter of the season.

 

He has etched his name in record books along the way, and he is the first to credit others for successes.

 

Luck has a teammate in Dwayne Allen, though, who believes the rookie signal-caller is something special.

 

“If you show me your most resilient guy in the NFL, and I will introduce you to my quarterback, Andrew Luck,” said Allen, who had a key 10-yard reception in the waning seconds on the Colts’ winning drive Sunday at Detroit.

 

Indianapolis trailed most the way after holding a brief 7-3 first-quarter lead.  The offense bogged down, on six drives failing to produce a first down and three times losing the ball on interceptions.

 

With 4:02 to go, Luck took the field with his team down, 33-21, and after suffering his third interception.  It was time to go to work.

 

After scrambling for a first down on fourth down, he guided the Colts past midfield, then hit rookie receiver LaVon Brazill on a 42-yard scoring play with 2:39 to go.

 

The Indianapolis defense held firmly and Luck was given one more chance from his 25 with 1:07 to go and with no timeouts.

 

He scrambled for nine yards, spiked the ball, then hit Reggie Wayne for 26 yards to the Detroit 40.  After another spike, he scrambled for 16 yards to the 24 with 29 seconds left.

 

A 10-yard completion to Allen inched the Colts closer and after three incompletions burned all but the last three seconds, Luck moved in the pocket and found Donnie Avery on a short crossing route and Avery hit the end zone as time expired – Indianapolis 35, Detroit 33.

 

“I don’t know, maybe some coolant,” said Allen about what he thought might be in Luck’s veins if it were not ice water.  “I don’t know, but he has something that keeps him cool, calm and collected.  Pressure situations, it amazes me what he can do. 

 

“I’ve never been around a quarterback with that amount of resilience to play the game he plays.  He goes through the ups and downs of the rollercoaster, then still be able to take the deep breath, tell everyone to shut up in the huddle and, ‘Let’s go win this.’ ”

 

Arians said after the game the team had its rookie moments.  With an offense that features a handful in addition to Luck and Allen, it is understandable.  What is commendable is that Arians and Head Coach Chuck Pagano have drilled it into a young team to stay in the moment and believe.

 

“The four-minute drive, then the two-minute drive (to win), we work that in practice so when it comes to those situations, Coach Arians just tells us, ‘Work the process.  We’ve been here before.  You guys know what to do.  Continue to work the process, and we’ll be successful.’  Those words would be the theme of our season,” said Allen.  “To have a first-year coach come in and set the standard of what he wants this team to do.  Then for him to go down sick and the offensive coordinator steps up as the interim leader (is amazing).

 

“The plan is in place.  All we have to do is work the process.  Every week, work the process.  Get a little bit better, then work the process.  That’s what we have done.”

 

Luck surpassed St. Louis’ Sam Bradford (seven, 2010) for the most starting victories by a rookie quarterback taken first overall.  In throwing for 391 yards at Detroit, it extended his league record with a fifth 300-yard game. 

 

Luck is one win shy of tying Chris Chandler’s rookie record of 1988 with nine starting wins.  Chandler was playing behind an offensive line that that had three Pro Bowlers in 1987, plus running back Eric Dickerson won the NFL rushing title with 1,659 yards.

 

The Colts have four more games.  The goal when Pagano exited in September to fight leukemia was to extend the season until his return.

 

The hoped-for return of Pagano is for the December 30 finale against Houston.  Indianapolis is 8-4 and behind the Texans in the AFC South, but ahead of the pack of AFC Wild Card hopefuls.

 

Luck and the club will continue to work the process.

 

“I could not be prouder.  It was a great team win,” said Arians to Colts Radio.  The defense stopped them at the end, and the offense came back.  We straddled the fence today, but they don’t stop fighting.  There’s no quit.  It’s the most resilient bunch of guys I’ve ever been around.”

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