Indianapolis Colts: Luck leads yet another comeback, beats Titans 27-23

Indianapolis Colts

It seems that the Indianapolis Colts aren’t comfortable in a game until they are down by a couple of touchdowns, doesn’t it? In what has become the norm this season, Andrew Luck and the Colts overcame yet another slow start and a 20-7 halftime deficit to comeback and win 27-23.

The victory send the Colts to a 9-4 record, clinching a winning season that no one thought possible when the offseason began. With losses by both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the Colts are now in complete control of the AFC’s 5th overall seed in the playoffs. It also keeps the (extremely) slim hopes of an AFC South division championship, as they have yet to play the AFC leading Houston Texans yet. That will happen next Sunday in Houston for the first time (and again two weeks later), but we’ll get to that later on in the week.

In the game against the Titans, the Colts struggled early. The offense went three and out on their first drive, then they were able to come back and score on a 4 yard touchdown pass from Luck to Wayne. After that, things got ugly. In the 2nd quarter, trying to avoid taking the sack like he should have, luck threw the ball as he was falling to the ground. The ball subsequently hit Titans linebacker Will Witherspoon, who caught it before it hit the ground and ran it back 40 yards for a score. Even if the refs blew the replay (which clearly showed that both of Luck’s knees were down prior to the ball leaving his hand), it was still a huge mistake for the rookie to make. Luck also threw another interception at the end of the first half on a hail-mary play.

For the game, Luck completed just 16 passes on 34 attempts (47.1 %, his second consecutive game with  less than 50%), and had the two interceptions for a season-low 50.6 QB rating. Now, before Colts fans start to panic about the two recent poor outings, there is one thing to remember. Even when the Colts offensive line was 100% healthy (which has been a rare sight), they weren’t playing very well. Against the Lions and the Titans, Luck as been playing behind 2nd and 3rd string guys who haven’t seen much, if any action all season. In both the Detroit and Tennessee games, Luck was under constant, tremendous pressure getting hit, hurried and sacked. In those two games, Luck has been sacked six times, and knocked to the ground countless others. You can’t expect a rookie quarterback to have tremendous success playing under the gun constantly, and against the Titans, Luck for the first time looked like he was getting gun-shy.

But in the second half, the Colts started to turn things around. It started with a second-half openeing 14 play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 1 yard Delone Carter touchdown run. The teams then traded punts, and Tennessee’s second possession of the half started on their own 1 yard line following a great kick by Colts punter Pat McAfee. On the very next play, Titans quarterback Jake Locker took the ball, immediately looked to his right, and threw the ball without looking at the defense. Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn, who was sitting on the route, pounced and intercepted the ball on the three yard line and ran it in for an easy score. Just like that, the Colts now led 21-20 after trailing by 14 points at the end of the first half.

The Titans were able to score another field goal in the 4th quarter after the refs blew a few more calls on 3rd downs that kept the Tennessee offense on the field, but the Colts defense was able to keep them out of the endzone. Luck did fumble on the next drive for Indy, and it was recovered by Tennessee, but the play was waived due to an offsides penalty by an over-agressive Witherspoon. The Colts were able to get two more field goals to push their lead to the 27-23 margin. A Darius Butler interception and a forced punt on the next to Titans’ drives led to three Andrew Luck kneel downs and another come from behind win for the Cardiac Colts.

Let’s just hope they can get more consistency from Luck and the offense against a tough game next Sunday in Houston. It should be a fun one.

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