Last week in the Colts locker room, veteran safety Mike Adams was asked by reporters why he thought this team, which had been struggling in the past month, could make some noise in the playoffs and potentially go on a run. Adams simply turned and pointed to Andrew Luck's locker. He's why. And on Sunday, Luck showed the rest of the country the same thing that Mike Adams and the rest of the Colts' locker room already knew: that with him at quarterback, the Colts absolutely stand a chance in every game.
He completed 31 of 44 passes, but his 70.4 completion percentage doesn't tell the whole story, as the Colts had a number of dropped passes. He threw for 376 yards, his third-highest total of the season. He threw for a touchdown without any turnovers, though he had another touchdown called back due to a penalty and another dropped. He made plays with his legs, adding 18 yards rushing and moving around in the pocket. And he did this, too:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Andrew Luck, this throw was ABSURD. <a href="https://t.co/UgOYUjWjHY">https://t.co/UgOYUjWjHY</a></p>— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) <a href="https://twitter.com/SInow/status/551833099659902976">January 4, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
"The one magical play to Moncrief was Andrew at his finest," head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. Tight end Dwayne Allen called Luck an "escape artist." Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri, who hit all four of his field goal attempts today, called it "awesome." But Luck? He praised everyone else, such as Boom Herron for his block or Donte Moncrief for getting open. The quarterback, in typical Andrew Luck fashion, tried to make it about his teammates. Nobody was fooled, however. It was about Luck.
He's the reason the Colts are here in the first place. Today, he got some help. Boom Herron gained 141 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in an impressive overall performance. The offensive line gave Luck as much time as in any game this season. Adam Vinatieri was money once again, hitting on all four of his kicks, including from 53-yards out. The defense really hit it's stride in the second half and held the Bengals to just ten points for the game. Yet it was Luck who emerged as the star, and the reason why is simple: he's the reason for hope for Colts fans.
The team travels to Denver next week to face the Broncos. The Colts won't be favored, and not many people will pick them to win the game. The Colts have too many issues and too many struggles. But one thing they do have is a quarterback: one who can make a perfect 36-yard throw while on the run and about to be tacked that goes for a touchdown to change the entire game. One that played his best game of the season today - in a season in which he set the franchise record for passing yards and led the league in touchdown passes. It's because of Andrew Luck that the Colts have a chance next weekend against the Broncos.
We saw yet again on Sunday. "It's never ever, ever down and out with him," Vinatieri said of Luck after the game. "Andrew just always finds away to extend plays and keep things going. They always say, ‘When you've got him on your team, you always have a chance.'" The Colts believe it, and with Luck at quarterback, they've got a chance to continue to show the rest of the world why that is.