Dolphins vs. Colts: Andrew Luck Rallies Indianapolis on Record-Breaking Day

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Dolphins vs. Colts: Andrew Luck Rallies Indianapolis on Record-Breaking Day
Thomas J. Russo-US PRESSWIRE
Luck completed passes under duress in a record-breaking performance.

None of this should be possible.

In just his eighth career start, Andrew Luck threw for a rookie-record 433 yards and two scores, helping the Indianapolis Colts to their fifth win of the season, 23-20, over the Miami Dolphins.

Luck was simply dazzling as he rallied Indianapolis from a 17-13 halftime deficit, posting the fourth game-winning drive of his young career.

The Colts, buoyed by a pregame visit from cancer-stricken head coach Chuck Pagano, overcame 11 penalties for 91 yards to take control of the wild-card race in the AFC.

Interim coach Bruce Arians said after the game that Pagano's words to the team were simple, but had an impact.

Just the ride we’re on. It was a very personal message to the team. Circumstances are what they are, you’ve got to make the best of them and you’ve got to fight. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

The Colts then went out and dismantled Miami's secondary thanks to a spectacular array of big plays from Luck. 

The Dolphins simply had no answer for the first-overall pick, who punished them on third down all afternoon. The Colts converted 13-of-19 opportunities on third down, making it difficult for the exhausted Miami defenders to keep pace.

Luck spent most of the afternoon looking deep, connecting on big plays to wide receivers Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Hilton celebrates a touchdown, attoning for an earlier drop.

By the fourth quarter, the Dolphin corners looked despondent on the field as they struggled to keep up on the long routes run by Indy's wideouts. 

More than half of the 516 yards generated by Colt receivers and backs were gained by rookies. Running back Vick Ballard and tight end Dwayne Allen joined Hilton in having a big day, playing critical roles in converting key third downs.

While the offense caught fire, the defense did its best not to lose the game.

Ryan Tannehill of Miami was outstanding in his own right, and hung 17 points on the Colts defense in his first three drives. Ultimately, his 290 yards passing went for naught as the Indianapolis pass rush ratcheted up the pressure in the second half.

Dwight Freeney played his best game of the year for the Colts, picking up his second sack and forcing Tannehill to get rid of the ball early on several occasions. As the game wore on, the defense stiffened, aided by an electric home crowd eager to see the Colts leapfrog the Dolphins in the conference standings.

With another game in just four days, the Colts now face the challenge of remaining calm in the midst of remarkable circumstances.

Luck had this to say after the game:

I think we’re still taking it one game at a time. As a team, we believe in ourselves, a lot of confidence in ourselves and also a lot of respect for everybody we play.

We feel that if we play well, we’re going to have an opportunity to win ball games, do some good things, but we do believe in ourselves and we know this city believes in us. I tell you, it’s a fun team to be on, fun place to play and I’m really enjoying it.

It all seems to be happening too soon for the Colts. Little of it is explainable.

But for the Colts and their fans, all of it is fun.

 

Note: All quotes courtesy of Indianapolis Colts public relations department.

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