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Andrew Luck’s 10 Game-Clinching Drives
The Colts’ QB is much more than a yearling now, having already notched a double-digit haul of come-from-behind victories in his young career. His 10 such deliveries in 24 games to date make for an NFL record. Here’s how he did it.
Remember when comeback wins came as surprises? With Andrew Luck in control of the Indianapolis Colts’ offense, such victories have nearly become the expected outcomes. And again on Sunday: The Houston Texans carried a sizeable lead into halftime, and Luck & Co. seemed to have their work cut out for them.
However, the second half featured a dazzling display of passing efficiency and marksmanship by Luck, as the Colts pried the lead from Houston and flew back to Indianapolis as victors. This was the tenth game-winning drive in in fourth-quarter or overtime situations of Luck’s young career. That’s 10 over 24 games. We at IM decided to take a look back these contests to catch a glimpse of just how the neck-bearded Stanford alum has helped the Colts become one of the most dangerous fourth-quarter teams in the NFL.
2012, Week 2: Colts vs. Vikings
In Andrew Luck’s second game as an NFL quarterback, the Colts defense gave up a game-tying drive with just 32 seconds remaining. However, even as a neophyte in the league, Luck used those 32 seconds to slice through the Vikings secondary, completing passes to Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne and bringing the Colts into kicker Adam Vinatieri’s range for a game-winning 53-yard field goal. The 23-20 victory was Luck’s first win as a pro.
2012, Week 4: Colts vs. Packers
With 4:30 left in the fourth quarter and trailing 27-22 against the Green Bay Packers, Luck and the Colts started from their own 20-yard line with two timeouts left to burn. What resulted was a 13-play, 80-yard drive that took 3:55 off the clock.
Luck kept the drive alive on a 3rd-and-12 pass to Reggie Wayne inside the 35 for Wayne’s third of five catches on the drive. On a 3rd-and-7 play, Luck took the ball himself and ran down inside the 5-yard-line for the first down before capping the drive off with a yet another pass to Wayne, who stretched the ball across the goal line for the winning score.
2012, Week 7: Colts vs. Titans
The lasting image from this overtime victory was Colts running back Vick Ballard’s gravity-defying leap toward the pylon, which won the game. After receiving a short pass from Luck, Ballard accelerated up the field, eventually hurdling himself across the plane for the game-winning score.
2012, Week 8: Colts vs. Dolphins
Tied at 20 with 13:12 left in the fourth quarter, the Colts started on their own six-yard-line before embarking on a 69-yard drive to set up a game-winning field goal by—wait for it—Adam Vinatieri.
Luck threw six completions on eight attempts to set up the go-ahead score, including two 20-yard passes to tight end Dwayne Allen. Allen finished the drive with the drive with four catches, the last being a two-yard catch setting up Vinatieri's kick from Miami's 25-yard line. The win improved the Colts' record to 5-3, and Luck's 433 passing yards broke the single-game rookie throwing record set by Cam Newton just one year earlier.
2012, Week 12: Colts vs. Lions
With the Colts trailing by 12 points in the fourth quarter, the Lions appeared to be in control. However, Andrew Luck used his legs and arm to put the Colts in position to steal a win on the road.
After one touchdown pass to make the score 33-28, the Colts found themselves facing a 4th-and-10 situation on the Lions’ 14-yard line with just four seconds remaining. With the Detroit defensive line bearing down on him, Luck evaded the rush and threw a quick pass to Donnie Avery who bolted into the end zone untouched. The 35-33 win showcased Luck’s big arm, as he threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
2012, Week 14: Colts vs. Titans
AFC South rival Tennessee got a double dose of the Colts' comeback magic. Seven weeks after beating the Titans in Nashville, Luck orchestrated a 10-play drive to set up a game-tying Vinatieri 53-yard field goal with 6:28 to go in the contest.
The score almost didn’t come to pass, as a defensive holding call on the third play of the drive wiped out a Luck fumble that was recovered by the Titans' Zach Brown. After a delay of game called against Luck on the next play, the rookie completed two of his next five attempts, with Vick Ballard chipping in with 14-yard run before Vinatieri’s kick. Titans quarterback Jake Locker threw an interception into the hands of Darius Butler on the ensuing drive to give the Colts the ball deep in Tennessee territory. Three plays later, Vinatieri booted a 40-yard kick to give the Colts their ninth win of the season.
2012, Week 16: Colts vs. Chiefs
With just more than four minutes remaining in a struggle locked at 13 points each, Andrew Luck connected with Reggie Wayne in the back of the end zone. The Colts skirted what would have been an embarrassing loss to the hapless Chiefs, who harbored a paltry 2-12 record going into the game.
2013, Week 1: Colts vs. Raiders
How else would Luck begin his sophomore campaign than in the way that defined his rookie year? Hosting the Oakland Raiders in their 2013 season debut, the Colts scored on their first two drives but were shut out until halfway through the fourth quarter as Terrell Pryor led the Raiders to a 17-14 lead before the Colts took over with 11:09 to go.
From his team's own 20-yard line, Luck put together an 11-play drive, completing passes to Wayne and T.Y. Hilton even as he was helped by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Oakland. Three times the Colts faced third down, with the final instance being the one that mattered most.
On 3rd and 3, Luck took the snap out of a shotgun formation and—not seeing any throwing option—took off up the middle, swerved toward the left sideline, and avoided two Raider defenders before crossing the goal line for the score. The Colts then had a 21-17 lead. Pryor couldn’t finish off his own game-winning drive, throwing an interception inside the Colts' 10-yard line to hand Indianapolis the win.
2013 Week 5: Colts vs. Seahawks
Squaring off against Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, another standout quarterback from his 2012 draft class, Luck showed that he deserved to be the No. 1 pick overall. His drive early in the fourth quarter was capped off by a Donald Brown touchdown run, and the Colts were able to hold the lead for the rest of the game en route to a 34-28 victory over the previously undefeated Seahawks.
2013, Week 9: Colts vs. Texans
While the biggest story coming out of Sunday night’s game was the hospitalization of Texans head coach Gary Kubiak after he collapsed on the field at halftime, the Colts took advantage of a quieted crowd in the second half after not scoring until 10 minutes into the second quarter.
After trailing 24-6 early in the third quarter, the Colts exploded for 21 unanswered points to put away their division rival. With reliable veteran Reggie Wayne gone for the year, sophomore receiver T.Y. Hilton capably filled his cleats, bringing down three touchdown catches of 10, 58, and 9 yards, respectively.
For the final touchdown, Luck threw a dart to Hilton at the Texans' 5-yard-line. The receiver then dodged two defenders before running into the end zone. Luck finished the game with 271 yards and three touchdowns while Hilton finished with seven receptions and 121 yards.
There you have it: Luck’s 10 game-winning drives since last year are the most by a quarterback in his first two seasons in NFL history.