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

Alameda Ta'amuDec 21 07:42p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared DL Alameda Ta'amu, OG Anthony Steen, WR Brittan Golden, SS Chris D. Clemons, QB Drew Stanton, OG Jonathan Cooper, DL Kareem Martin inactive for Week 16.

Chris MatthewsDec 21 07:32p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared WR Chris Matthews, DL Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kevin Norwood, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, TE Tony Moeaki, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 16.

Ahmad DixonDec 21 11:52a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

The Houston Texans have declared WR DeVier Posey, TE Garrett Graham, LB Jason Ankrah, S Josh Aubrey, LB Mike Mohamed, QB Tom Savage, OG Xavier Su'a-Filo inactive for Week 16.

A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

The Carolina Panthers have declared LB A.J. Klein, OG Amini Silatolu, CB Carrington Byndom, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, DL Kyle Love, SS Robert Lester inactive for Week 16.

Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

Jamarca SanfordDec 21 11:52a

The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

Justin BrownDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

Carl BradfordDec 21 11:42a

The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

Chris McCainDec 21 11:42a

The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

Aaron MurrayDec 21 11:42a

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West, WR Donnie Avery, C Eric Kush, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, CB Marcus Cooper, DL Nick X. Williams inactive for Week 16.

Gary BarnidgeDec 21 11:42a

The Cleveland Browns have declared OT Andrew McDonald, TE Gary Barnidge, RB Glenn Winston, CB Joe Haden, DB K'Waun Williams, WR Rodney Smith, OT Vinston Painter inactive for Week 16.

Chris ConteDec 21 11:42a

The Chicago Bears have declared FS Chris Conte, QB David Fales, OG Kyle Long, PK Robbie Gould, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott, DL Will Sutton inactive for Week 16.

Dakota DozierDec 21 11:33a

The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

Alfonzo DennardDec 21 11:33a

The New England Patriots have declared CB Alfonzo Dennard, OG Dan Connolly, RB James White, OT Jordan Devey, WR Julian Edelman, CB Kyle Arrington, RB LeGarrette Blount inactive for Week 16.

Anthony CollinsDec 21 11:32a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

Kelvin BenjaminDec 21 11:22a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin won't face Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) Sunday, Dec. 21, who is out with a shoulder injury.

Joe HadenDec 21 11:22a

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (shoulder) is out Sunday, Dec. 21.

Julio JonesDec 21 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is active Sunday, Dec. 21.

Jay CutlerDec 21 10:22a

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is receiving trade interest from the Tennessee Titans. If the Titans landed him, it would alter the 2015 NFL Draft board dramatically.

T Y HiltonDec 21 10:22a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is a long shot to play Sunday, Dec. 21. However, he's going to try to suit up.

DeMarco MurrayDec 21 10:12a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will play Sunday, Dec. 21, but the team is nervous how well he'll hold up in pass protection. If the team qualifies for [ More ]

Zach ErtzDec 20 07:42p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz had 15 catches for 115 yards Saturday, Dec. 20. Both of which are career highs.

Philip RiversDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 20 06:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Dec. 21, after not practicing all week.

Julian EdelmanDec 20 06:02p

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (concussion) has been ruled out for Week 16. Edelman didn't receive final clearance from the concussion protocol to play Sunday, Dec. 21.

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