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Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to simply ensure they’re the reason their team doesn’t lose the game, especially in the fourth quarter.
But halfway through the season, Andrew Luck, who broke Carolina quarterback Cam Newton’s all-time record for passing yards in a single game with 433, has continuously shown no regard for that tradition time and time again.
In his case, he was a huge reason why the Indianapolis Colts (5-3) were able to take a 23-20 lead over the Miami Dolphins (4-4) with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on Sunday. The defense made two stands the rest of the way, as the Colts held on to win by the same score.
Not only was Indianapolis able to already win its fifth game in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but they were able to do it in front of head coach Chuck Pagano, who made his way back to the building to watch his team in person for the first time since being diagnosed with a form of leukemia early in the season.
After yet another inspiring victory, he shared some uplifting words with his crew in the locker room.
“I’ve got circumstances. You guys understand it, I understand it,” Pagano told the team. “It’s already beat. It’s already beat. My vision that I’m living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and then lift the Lombardi Trophy several times. I’m dancing at two more weddings and we’re hoisting that trophy together, men. Congratulations, I love all of you.”
The two sides went back and forth all day. Reggie Wayne caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Luck in the back of the end zone on third down, giving the Colts their first lead of the day at 7-3 with less than a minute left in the first.
Third down was Luck’s best friend on Sunday. He converted 13 of 19 third down passes into first downs and kept drives alive all day long.
Ryan Tannehill, who is also a rookie quarterback starting in year one, actually possessed the ball with an opportunity to tie the game or put Miami ahead late. However, Indianapolis’ defense held strong. He threw for 290 yards and one touchdown.
By halftime, Miami led 17-13.
Inside the two-minute mark of the third quarter, still trailing 17-13, Luck threw a long ball 36 yards into double coverage, but receiver T.Y. Hilton outplayed both defenders and came down with it in the end zone to give the Colts a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter.
A Dolphins field goal tied the game at 20, with the clock reading 13:19 in the fourth.
Seven minutes and fourteen seconds, and 69 yards later, Luck had led his team down the field, and they knocked through a 43-yard field goal that would eventually be the game-winning score.
“The kid, he continues to amaze,” Wayne said of Luck. “Hopefully I can help, you know, add onto his legacy that he’s about to build.”
Resiliency appears to be something that the Colts have been sharing with Pagano all season, and all of a sudden they now find themselves right in the thick of the AFC playoff picture as a result.
Image Courtesy : Miami Dolphins