Colts vs. Lions: Andrew Luck Leads Miracle Comeback (Again)

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 2, 2012

Luck escaped constant pressure to upend the Lions.
Luck escaped constant pressure to upend the Lions.Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Andrew Luck threw three interceptions and completed 44 percent of his passes against the Detroit Lions and may well have won the Rookie of the Year award in the process.

Thanks to two Luck touchdown passes in the final three minutes, the Indianapolis Colts stunned the Detroit Lions 35-33 at Ford Field in Detroit.

After an uneven game that saw Luck take repeated shots from the Detroit defensive line, he caught fire in the waning moments, lifting the Colts to overcome a 33-21 deficit.

After Luck's third interception of the game with 6:49 to play seemingly sealed the fate of the now 8-4 Colts, the Lions (4-8) went conservative, leaving the door open for a comeback for the ages.

The first of two clutch drives for the Colts began at the Indianapolis 15-yard line and featured a Luck scramble on 4th-and-2 to convert a critical first down. The drive eventually ended with a 42-yard bomb pass from Luck to fellow rookie LaVon Brazill to cut the Lions' lead to 33-28.

The Colts kicked deep and, despite a first down by the Lions, eventually forced a punt from midfield.

Luck took over at his own 25 with no timeouts and just 1:07 to work with.

As the closing seconds melted away, Luck was rock solid. On the final drive he scrambled twice for 25 yards and hit two passes for 36 yards to move the Colts down to the Detroit 14-yard line.

After three incomplete throws, Indy lined up with just :03 to play needing to put the ball in the end zone on fourth down, trailing by five.

The entire drive set up a fantastic finish for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Luck scrambled to his right and flipped a short pass to Donnie Avery, who scampered untouched into the end zone with zeros on the clock. 

Avery's touchdown set of a wild celebration on the Indianapolis sideline and left Detroit wondering what went wrong.

The Lions were dominant most of the day, led by Calvin Johnson, who abused Cassius Vaughn and Vontae Davis to the tune of 13 catches, 171 yards and a score.

Detroit muffled the Indianapolis run game, limiting Colts' backs to just 54 yards on 15 carries. Meanwhile, the defense allowed 450 yards and 33 points.

All of that went for naught, however, as Luck's heroics rendered all of it nothing but statistical footnotes. Luck broke the record for most wins by rookie quarterback picked first overall with his third comeback and fifth game-winning drive of the year.

Luck was not a one-man show, but for most of the game it felt like it. He was helped by 100 yards from T.Y. Hilton and 91 yards and two scores from Avery, but most of the rest of the team struggled against a clearly superior Lions' squad.

Despite the help, Luck rightly deserves the bulk of the credit. After 54 throws, 391 yards and four touchdowns, the occasional struggles Lucked suffered will be forgotten in the wake of his frantic comeback.

The win further cements the Colts' grip on the fifth seed in the AFC, ensuring that they won't have a losing record a year after finishing 2-14.

With the reeling Tennessee Titans next on the docket, a Colts' win would secure the all-important ninth win that would likely send them to the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons.


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