Without any time on the clock, you usually throw to the end zone when trying to get a touchdown, not a short pass and hope the receiver does all the work. Andrew Luck took that risk, Donnie Avery delivered, and the Indianapolis Colts improved to 8-4 with a 35-33 comeback win.
They were down by 12 points with 8:41 left to go in the fourth quarter. But Luck, who had a roller-coaster of a day, throwing three interceptions, wasn’t about to let his become another page in the book about his woeful away form this season. He did throw an interception on the ensuing drive. That didn’t shake him. Winners have short memories.
The Lions were stopped on their next drive and Andrew Luck began a drive on the Colts’ 15. It took him under two minutes to lead the Colts to a touchdown, throwing a 42 yard touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill, making it 33-28. The Lions had to punt again, and the Colts were left with 75 yards to go, 1:05 on the clock.
This was all on Luck, and he came through. He ran for 25 yards on two rushing plays; the rest he did with his arm, including the final play, finding Donnie Avery, a man he couldn’t connect with on the previous play, for a 14 yard touchdown while the clock showed 00:00. The last time the Colts scored a game-winning TD with no time remaining on the clock was Sept. 30, 1990. Yes, even Peyton Manning doesn’t have that kind of play on his Colts resume.
By leading the Colts to their eighth win Sunday, Andrew Luck became the winningest rookie quarterback drafted No. 1 overall in the Super Bowl era. With four games left, he has a shot to break the rookie passing yards record, as well. He’s third all-time after his 391-yard effort pushed him to 3,596 yards this season. Cam Newton is waiting at the top with 4051. Luck will probably find himself ahead of Peyton Manning after next week.
You always hesitate throwing the ball not in the end zone, for fear of the clock running out with a guy in bounds. Took the calculated risk that Donnie could get there in the end zone, and he did.
With each win and each display of composure and that IT factor no one can understand or explain, Andrew Luck shows the Colts made the right decision by placing the future of their franchise in the hands of a rookie quarterback out of Stanford. Peyton Manning is doing great in Denver. Robert Griffin III is doing extremely well in Washington with the Redskins. Luck might not be as careful with the ball as those two, at least this season, but taking a 2-14 team into the playoffs might be a much bigger accomplishment.
He now has five game winning drives this season, tying him with Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Young or the most by a rookie since the merger. He’s also the 4th rookie since 1970 to throw a game-winning TD pass with 0:00 left in game. It’s good to play against the Lions, who dropped a lead for three consecutive games in the fourth quarter, all at home.