Colts Defeat Dolphins Behind Record-Setting Day By Andrew Luck

Joe Robbins

Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck set the rookie record for most passing yards in a game and was spectacular all day in leading the Colts to another game winning drive and another win, making it three straight and 5-3 overall.

30-48, 433 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT.

No, those aren’t the stats of Peyton Manning, nor are they the stats of Aaron Rodgers. Those were the stats for rookie Andrew Luck today.

Luck set career marks for attempts, yards, and tied his career high for touchdown passes in a game (and had another one dropped). He was one shy of tying his career high in completions.

He also set the NFL record for the most passing yards in a game by a rookie ever, breaking Cam Newton’s record of 432 from a year ago.

People will rave about Luck’s performance. I will, too. And he deserves everything that is said about him. But I really don’t have any words left to describe how good this guy is. I mean, he plays like a ten year veteran, not a rookie. Through eight games of his rookie season, he has already tied the record for most 300+ yard passing games in a rookie season ever (Peyton Manning, 1998). And he’s played half of a season. The best is still yet to come.

This is coming from a guy who lived and died by every game one of the greatest players in history played. I dissected Peyton Manning’s games quite a bit. I watch a lot of NFL football every weekend. And this game by Andrew Luck today was one of the best quarterbacking performances I have seen. Don’t let the rushing stats deceive you, the Colts really couldn’t run it much of the game. There were multiple drops, including a great throw that would have been a touchdown to T.Y. Hilton.

The offense is playoff ready. Both Donnie Avery (5-108-0) and T.Y. Hilton (6-102-1) had big days. Reggie Wayne was Reggie Wayne once again, catching 7 passes for 78 yards and a score. Dwayne Allen continued to show he will be a great tight end with 6 catches for 75 yards. And even though the run game struggled today, they turned it on with a few big runs late and ended with 97 yards, more than the Dolphins had.

And you know what? Even though the defense has looked bad this year, they still have allowed more than 22 points only three times this year. In fact, the past three games they have allowed an average of 15.3 points per game. This defense showed up today when it counted, allowing only three points in the second half.

The Colts are now in prime position to make the playoffs. They are really in a good position to make the postseason, as unbeliebale as that may seem. They have won three straight, four out of the last five, and stand at 5-3 right now at the midway point of the season.

In four of those five wins, Andrew Luck has led a game winning drive in the fourth quarter. The Colts don’t give up.

And neither does their coach.

The win provided a very special moment in the locker room postgame. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was in attendance today at Lucas Oil Stadium and was there to greet the players as they came into the locker room after the great win. Pagano was giving the players hugs and the players were so happy to see him. Pagano will enter the hospital again early this week to begin his second round of chemotherapy.

How symbolic of this Colts’ team – the picture of their head coach in the locker room celebrating a win in spite of his leukemia and treatment. Pagano is fighting, and he will win. His team has followed suit, going 4-1 since their coach’s diagnosis and pulling three of them out in the final quarter. They haven’t given up. They’ve been #ChuckStrong.

This Colts team really is something special. The rookies have shown up much earlier than expected. The veterans are rejuvenating their careers (Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis) and mixing in well with the young guys.

Final score: Colts 23, Dolphins 20. Words can’t describe Andrew Luck’s record-setting performance today. Just spectacular.

Below are some other notes from the Colts’ win today:

  • The Colts suffered several injuries today. OLB Robert Mathis (back), C Samson Satele (back), WR Donnie Avery (hip), OT Winston Justice (knee), and CB Jerraud Powers (toe) all left the game at various points and did not return. With a short week coming up, the status of each of them is a concern.
  • Dwight Freeney played perhaps his best game of the year today. His spin move made a comeback, he notched a sack and forced fumble and forced another incomplete pass. He provided nice pressure today. Robert Mathis also added a sack, running his streak to 8 consecutive games with a sack, tying a career high.
  • The Colts on third down today: 13/19 against one of the best third down defenses in the NFL. Luck on third down was 13/17 for 204 yards and a touchdown.
  • Adam Vinatieri had an up and down day, going 3/5. He missed from 48 yards and 54 yards, so both were long range. The 54 yard attempt also appeared to be partially blocked. Fans asking whether we need another kicker – no, we don’t. Who would you rather have that’s available? I thought not. I do think that Vinatieri will retire after this year, so then it becomes a concern, but until then, I have a lot of confidence in him and when the game is on the line, he won’t miss. I’ll take that over a Mike any day.
  • The Colts committed 11 penalties for 91 yards today, something which can’t continue. Can’t beat yourself.
  • The Colts have played Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers this year, two of the better quarterbacks in the league, but I was much more impressed with rookies Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill against the Colts. Tannehill today was very good, but his performance will be overshadowed by Luck. This year’s rookie QB class will be a great one. The NFL’s future rides on the arms of its young passers – and the league has to be incredibly thrilled with where that direction is headed.
  • The Colts have a short week, traveling to Jacksonville to take on the division rival Jaguars on Thursday night as the Luck era Colts make their primetime debut. The injuries are a concern, but as long as they have Luck, that’s pretty much all they need.
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