2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Luck aces latest test in 39-33 win over Broncos

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-21 03:24

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Andrew Luck aced his latest test Sunday night.

Going head-to-head against his predecessor with the Colts, the 24-year-old quarterback showed everyone he's more than a worthy replacement for Peyton Manning. He beat Manning at his own game.

On a night that was supposed to belong exclusively to homecoming king, Luck executed a perfect 2-minute drill at the end of the first half, threw three touchdown passes, ran for his third score of the season and kept the Broncos' defense off balance all night. The result: Indianapolis 39, Denver 33.

''I thought he played really well,'' coach Chuck Pagano said of Luck. ''I think he had three touchdown passes at half, if I'm not mistaken, 128-something QB rating. There were some errant things in the second half that happened that we'd love to have back. There's always going to be some plays here and there that you'd love to have back, but I thought he played really well.''

Luck played well enough to hand the Broncos (6-1) their first loss of the season, leaving surprising Kansas City as the NFL's last unbeaten team. And Luck played well enough to ruin what most expected to be Manning's chance to prove the Colts (5-2) made a mistake by releasing him in March 2012 so they could rebuild with Luck at the helm.

It was not pure Luck, though he did prove he could thrive under heavy pressure with a prime-time effort.

Here are five other things we learned Sunday night:

FAR FROM PERFECT: Denver may have come into the game with an unbeaten record and Manning seemingly steamrolling to reclaim the touchdown pass record. But Denver is far from the perfect team. The Colts, coming off a Monday night loss in which they didn't score a touchdown at San Diego, finished with a season-high 39 points and capitalized on just about every mistake the Broncos made. They sacked Manning four times, forced a fumble that turned into a safety and a touchdown and picked him off, too. Afterward, Manning called it a game to learn from.

NEW AND IMPROVED: Colts owner Jim Irsay caught a lot of heat this week for noting that the Colts are building around a different model without Manning. He wanted a more balanced offense, a steadier defense and stronger special teams. It was a big reason the Colts held on Sunday. Indy ran 31 times for 121 yards and kept the ball for more than 31 minutes. Luck still threw for 228 yards and three TDs, and while the defense gave up yards, it limited the NFL's highest-scoring team to a season-low point total, which forced Denver to play catch-up. Indy had better field position most of the night and it turned a fumbled punt return into a touchdown.

LINE DANCE: Denver has already lost its starting left tackle and its starting center and things have gotten even worse with the loss of right tackle Orlando Franklin (sprained left knee). So, Denver shuffled the lineup and struggled. The question going forward is this: What kind of protection can Manning expect? While that answer will need to be developed over the next several weeks, it's clear Denver coaches must take another look at what they have. Left tackle Chris Clark was repeatedly burned by speedy pass rusher Robert Mathis, and with the game on the line, Indy's other outside linebacker, Erik Walden, got his hand on Manning's arm to force a rare interception.

RISING TO THE OCCASION: With each passing week, the Colts' defense takes a step forward saving its top performances for its toughest opponents - as Denver found out the hard way. Indy held defending NFC champion San Francisco to seven points, on the road, last month another NFC Super Bowl favorite, Seattle, to just 16 points over the final three quarters after falling into a 12-0 deficit. While they gave up a season-high 33 points to the Broncos, Indy was the first team this season to even slow down Denver's offense, which spent most of the night trying to play catch-up after averaging more than 44 points per game over the first six weeks.

INJURIES HURT: Neither John Fox nor Chuck Pagano were prepared to say how costly this game might be to their teams. But the two biggest injury concerns are franchise cornerstones. Denver lost cornerback Champ Bailey late in the first half when his left foot got caught in a scrum trying to take down running back Trent Richardson. Bailey angrily walked off the field after re-injuring the same foot that kept him out of the first five games. He did not return. The Colts lost Reggie Wayne in the fourth quarter with a sprained right knee that sent him to the locker room in tears. And while the Colts are hoping for the best, Wayne is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday.

---

AP NFL website: http://pro32.ap.org/poll

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Miles AustinMar 30 05:32p

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 30. The deal is worth $2.3 million with $700,000 available in incentives, according to a source.

DeMeco RyansMar 30 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles') said he will be ready for training camp in July after coming back from his second torn Achilles' tendon since 2010. He will [ More ]

Michael HillMar 30 05:02p

Free-agent RB Michael Hill (Colts) signed an undisclosed deal with the Washington Redskins Monday, March 30.

Demaryius ThomasMar 30 02:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas will not be present at the Broncos' offseason program or attend workouts with QB Peyton Manning at Duke University. Thomas is currently in Los Angeles for a charity event.

Jordan TodmanMar 30 01:42p

Free-agent RB Jordan Todman (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Monday, March 30. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group