What more can we say about this kid?
Today, Andrew Luck was simply brilliant. Sure, there were ups and downs, but for a guy who had struggled mightily on the road this year, this game looked like the Andrew Luck we have seen when at home. Yeah, he threw a bad interception, but just look at his stats in the fourth quarter and overtime. On three drives, he led two touchdowns while completing 10 of his 12 passes (the two incompletions were drops - by Donald Brown and Donnie Avery) for 115 yards and the game winning touchdown to Vick Ballard. He was as clutch as it gets today. For the third time this season, Luck led a game winning drive. And he's played seven games in his career. That marks two game winning touchdown passes for Luck. And he's thrown eight this year.
It took overtime to do it, but the Colts beat the AFC South rival Titans and advanced to 4-3 and continuing to put themselves in position for - yes - a wild card spot in the playoffs. Yes, it is possible. But today... today was just another remarkable win.
There was Donald Brown, coming back from a knee injury, running for 80 yards, 39 of which came in overtime. There was Vick Ballard, following up his good performance last week with another good one, rushing for 55 yards and making a spectacular catch and run (and leap) for the winning score. There was Delone Carter, getting only two carries on the day but making them perhaps the two biggest of any carries the Colts had - the first conoverting a crucial 4th and 1 and the second going over the top for the tying score in the fourth quarter. There was Reggie being Reggie, as the remarkable wide receiver continued to catch everything en route to 7 receptions for 91 yards. And then there was a defense that, though shaky throughout the day, allowed only 13 points and didn't allow a single point after the 10:26 mark of the fourth quarter.
This performance was truly #ChuckStrong. The Colts hadn't won on the road in nearly two years, hadn't been over .500 for two years. It all added up to a thrilling, yet frusturating at times, 19-13 overtime victory over the Titans.
Below are some additional notes from the game:
Adam Vinatieri made his 400th career field goal today, the second of two made kicks on the day. He did have one blocked, but it wasn't his fault.
- Bruce Arians needs to get more aggressive. Early on in the first quarter, on the Colts' first drive, he settled for the chip-shot 20 yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and goal. On the road he has to be aggressive, and he wasn't today, nor has he been this season.
- I may finally be joining the majority of Colts fans who think that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky should be gone at the end of the year. I hate giving a coach only one year, but his system is not working and his history doesn't exactly give me confidence either. If the defense doesn't improve, the Colts seriously need to think long and hard about Manusky's future with the team.
- Penalties kill. The Titans had several critical penalties, including three offensive pass interference calls in the first half. This game reiterated that penalties kill.
- The rookie tight ends are both going to be very good. Coby Fleener has really come along strong recently (he missed much of the second half today with a shoulder injury), but Dwayne Allen has been great all year. He will be a great player for years to come, and today he had a great day.
- A quick explanation about the Dwayne Allen fumble: yes, it did look to be a fumble, but the officials ruled forward progress before the fumble. Yes, the forward progress call did seems early, but the reality is that it is a judgement call and the way they handled it was absolutely correct.
- Drake Nevis should be starting even when Fili Moala returns.
- Jerry Hughes should not be starting. Period. The loss of Robert Mathis gets even worse when Hughes is the one filling in for him.
- Mewelde Moore has really contributed nothing to the team this year. He has struggled and that continued today. With Brown, Ballard, and Carter all coming on strong, Moore will continue to be buried on the depth chart.
- Anthony Castonzo has had a good year overall, but today he struggled. He didn't have any answers for the Titans' pass rush.
The Colts would be the six seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. Seriously. The Miami Dolphins would be the five seed. The two meet in Indianapolis next weekend. All of the sudden, it may actually mean something.