Comebacks have become like second nature to the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck. There was the massive comeback over the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and the huge come-from-behind win in 2013 against the Houston Texans. And there was, of course, the now famous comeback in the wild card round of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But this time? Trailing 27-14 in the fourth quarter on the road, backed up against their own two yard line, needing a 98-yard drive to even get back in the game? It seemed unlikely. Making it even more improbable was the fact that Andrew Luck was not playing well in the game. He had completed just 7 of 17 passes for 116 yards with two interceptions in the first three quarters, and this was the third game in a row in which he was struggling. Luck had led the Colts from behind before, but this time it seemed incredibly unlikely even for the Colts' quarterback.
But then Luck started to get hot. He threw for 110 yards on one drive (yeah, the field is only 100 yards long) and the Colts were in the end zone, suddenly with life. An interception by Dwight Lowery (his second of the day) gave the Colts the ball back, and on the very next play Luck audibled out of a run play and threw a perfect pass to Donte Moncrief in the end zone. Just like that, the Colts had the lead. A Frank Gore run on the next offensive possession put the Colts up eight, and while the defense allowed a score by the Titans, they stuffed the two-point conversion, ensuring an incredible comeback victory.
Backed up against the wall and starting the dreaded 0-3 start in the face, the Colts' best player stepped up when he needed to. Granted, he was terrible in the first three quarters and that was a large part of why the Colts were behind, but Andrew Luck's teammates never wavered in their faith in him to lead them to a win.
"In '12' we trust," inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman told the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder after the game. "I don't give a damn about anything else."
"We have 12!" safety Mike Adams exclaimed, according to ESPN's Mike Wells.
"We go as far as 12 goes," outside linebacker Robert Mathis added. "He's the motor to our vehicle. We just ride the motor to his coattail."
"It's big time," head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game of Luck's ability to bounce back from mistakes. "He's a gritty guy and he's able to move past the bad plays, put them behind him and put something together like he put together today."
Luck, of course, deflected the praise to his teammates. That's just what he does - especially after a game in which he struggled for the first three quarters. His team kept the Colts (somewhat) in it, just waiting for him to get hot. "It's a team game," he said. "I think if you ask a defensive guy, they're going to give the credit to the offense and special teams. You go ask the special teamer, Pat Mac (McAfee), he'll give the credit to himself. You go ask an offensive guy, they'll give credit. It's the culture of team sports. You feed off of each other, you really do, in all three phases. Coach Pagano has built a great environment where you love playing each other and with these coaches. Some huge, huge plays by the defense, and we were able to capitalize on those in those critical situations."
The Colts wouldn't have won without a team effort on Sunday, that's for sure. But the rest of the team knows it full well: Luck can lead them out of it. They never lost their faith in him, and Luck turned it around for a masterful fourth quarter comeback. Hopefully that's the spark they needed to get it going before the fourth quarter moving forward.
|Andrew Luck vs. Titans|
|First 3 Quarters||Fourth Quarter|