Luck does it again in the fourth quarter
October, 6, 2013
By Mike Wells | ESPN.com
Jonathan Moore/Getty ImagesQB Andrew Luck utilized a solid fourth-quarter plan, plus a little luck, to lift his Colts over Seattle.INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton, a man of few words when a microphone or tape recorder is in his face, couldn’t stop talking when asked about the player responsible for getting him the ball.
“It always helps having a guy like Andrew [Luck],” Hilton said. “He can do it both ways. On the ground. In the air. He’s so smart. He sees what the defense is doing. He’s smart. He’s strong. There's nothing he can't do.”
Hilton would have kept talking about "12" if not for his desire to head home after the Colts handed the Seattle Seahawks their first loss of the season, 34-28, at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
And in what's become typical Luck fashion, he did it in comeback style.
Sunday was the ninth fourth-quarter comeback by Luck in only 21 NFL games. Yes, nine of the Colts' 15 victories over the past two seasons have been been come-from-behind wins led by the second-year quarterback. Jake Plummer is the only other quarterback who can say he has nine fourth-quarter comebacks in his first two seasons. Luck still has 11 more games this season to top Plummer.
“That’s a good question,” Luck said when asked if he savors the come-from-behind victories. “Maybe there’s something special about the close ones. A win is a win. I’m sure you ask every guy in the locker room and they’re happy with a win.”
That, too, is typical Luck. He was not interested in talking about his individual success. It's all about what's best for the team.
Luck took another step Sunday in distancing himself from the rest of the quarterbacks taken in his draft class. Washington’s Robert Griffin III, the player taken right behind Luck, led the Redskins to the playoffs last season, but he has to prove he can last a full season and be just as mobile after having knee surgery in January.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson is the only other quarterback from that 2012 class to lead his team to the playoffs last season.
So Sunday was more than the Colts trying to give the Seahawks their first loss of the season. The subplot was whether Wilson could outplay Luck to close the gap between the two of them.
Wilson put on a show -- throwing for 210 yards and running for another 102 yards -- but Luck was the last one standing, finishing 16-of-29 for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
“His last name fits the bill,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said about Luck. “I’m glad he’s on my team.”
The two were neck and neck in the passing game for more than three quarters.
Luck and Wilson had identical numbers of 15-of-27 for 210 yards passing at one point in the fourth quarter.
Seattle's stingy defense, seven fourth-quarter points allowed all season, or Luck pulling off another comeback?
Something had to give.
Luck, according to right tackle Gosder Cherilus, entered the huddle on the final play of the third quarter and told them “let’s go get this.”
The Colts went on a 14-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Donald Brown scoring from 3 yards out. Luck was 5-of-7 on the drive. His best throw, though, came when he threw back across his body to find Reggie Wayne for a two-point conversion and 31-28 lead.
“Truth is, we know we have to do our part because we know he’s going to do his part,” Cherilus said. “We know the kid has major heart. As long as we do our part -- I’m talking about all 10 of us -- we know he’ll do his. It’s one of those things where we keep playing and keep going we’ll be fine with him leading the way.”
The Colts were stuck in idle on their first three offensive series. They were three and out each series and Luck was 5-of-13 for 97 yards in the first half. Seventy-three of those yards came on a touchdown pass to Hilton.
Luck used the snap count more and got some help in the running game in the second half to help overcome their first-half performance. He was 11-of-16 for 132 yards and a touchdown in the second half.
“He just wills this team to a victory,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s unbelievable. He’s able to stick to the process. It doesn’t matter what the score is, what the situation is, the guy just finds a way to make plays, finds a way to get out of the pick, finds a way to extend. Obviously, the guys believe in him. We can jump on his shoulders, jump on his back.”
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman added, "He executed down the stretch. That's all that counts."
Seattle’s secondary, the best in the league, has been rock solid all season, but that didn’t stop Luck from taking shots against them.
He was 4-of-5 for 140 yards and two touchdowns on passes of at least 15 yards.
“Against that team? Extremely difficult,” Pagano said. “That’s Andrew being Andrew. We’re very lucky -- no pun intended -- to have him.”