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Colts Ring Luck's Bell

For 19 minutes, everything looked wonderful for the Colts, but it took a 19-yard scoring run from Andrew Luck with five minutes left, plus a defensive stop, as Indianapolis emerged with a 21-17 victory over Oakland. Afterward others offered praise for Andrew Luck.


INDIANAPOLIS – One of Oliver Luck's instruction points to his son growing up was that when other people ring your bell, they will ring it louder than you can.

Consider Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium to be one of those moments as Luck guided the Colts to two quick touchdowns and a 14-point lead before he had to move his struggling team 80 yards late in the fourth quarter to beat Oakland, 21-17.

It was a performance witnessed multiple times last year when the rookie directed seven comeback wins in the fourth quarter or overtime.  After four failed drives and after taking a number of hits with his team losing its lead, Luck hitched his pants up and pointed way.

"Yeah," said Reggie Wayne when asked if his confidence level were high in those moments.  "He plays better than the average second-year quarterback.  He inspires everyone in the huddle.  Nothing seems to get him down. 

"Even when they took the lead, he said, 'This is going to be the drive to win the game.'  He's always confident.  He knows what he can do with his ability.  It's nice he has nice, strong legs.  He plays like he's a 15-year vet."

The strong legs are something Wayne has not seen much during his 12 prior years in Indianapolis.  He is bleary-eyed, however, from outstanding play during the Peyton Manning years and last year with Luck. 

With just more than five minutes left and his team down three, Wayne was double-teamed but was left bug-eyed with what transpired.

Luck broke the pocket, focused first on extending the drive after going through his progressions, then ended it with a 19-yard rushing score.

"They doubled Reggie, which takes one extra body out of there," said Luck.  "I went through my reads.  As I was stepping up you sort of realize, 'There really is no one here.  Maybe I can make the first down.' 

"As you start running, you say, 'Okay, (let's go for) the end zone.  (There was a) great block from Darrius.  It was sort of a block out, which is legal, and it got us in the end zone."

Luck was not hit on the scamper, and Chuck Pagano rang his bell afterward. Luck completed his first 11 passes and finished 18-of-23 for 178 yards with two TDs.

"It's huge," said Pagano of the confidence he has in those moments with Luck.  "Like you saw last year with seven fourth-quarter comebacks, if you have a quarterback like Andrew and playmakers around him, you feel good about playing aggressive and doing some different things.  Nothing crazy or out of the ordinary but when you have a guy like that, it sure makes you feel good. 

"There's a minute left on the clock and we need a score, there's no one I'd rather have under center than that guy."

Luck's play last year produced late Colts wins of Minnesota, Green Bay, Tennessee (twice), Miami, Detroit and Kansas City.  He now has directed late scoring drives to win in eight-of-17 games.

His 19-yard run tied the seventh-longest scoring rush by a Colts quarterback ever.  He was grateful for the team's ability to hang tough.

"It's such a close-knit locker room.  It's not just three units.  It truly is a Colts football team," said Luck.  "We feed off each other.  If the offense is failing, the defense, the special team is going to pick us up.  We try to do the same (for them).

"Winning late games is nice.  We've had a couple of those.  It's a new year.  Every win is special, rookie year, second year, (and) I'm sure Reggie (Wayne) will say the same thing in his 13th year.  Every win is special.

"I guess fans shouldn't leave early, but I don't think any Colts fans ever do.  A win's a win's a win."

All the Colts can be after one game is 1-0.  Perfect win?  No.  Gutty win?  Yes, and the target is improvement. 

"Our players did an unbelievable job of hanging tough," said Pagano.  "We always talk about, 'Playing 60 minutes with all you got, one play at a time, don't judge.'  We come out smoking and go up 14-0, then you kind of hit a lull for a while.  That's why you play 60 minutes. 

"It came down to a last-play situation.  Our guys played their tails off.  They overcame.  We have confidence in our guys.  We don't want to play our best ball today.  We want to play better next Sunday.  You want to play our best ball at the end of the season."

INJURY NOTE/NOTES – Dwayne Allen left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury of undetermined extent.  Pagano said that was the only real injury suffered in the game. In the locker room after the game, Pagano awarded game balls to Darrius Heyward-Bey, Reggie Wayne and Antoine Bethea.

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