INDIANAPOLIS – The first time Andrew Luck was tabbed the AFC's Offensive Player-of-the-Week, he beat a tough Miami defense and a Dolphins team with a rookie quarterback.
Today he earned the distinction for a second time, and he did so after the Colts earned a thrilling 39-33 nationally-televised game over Denver.
"It's a true honor and very indicative of a great team win over a good Broncos team," said Luck. "We've still got a long way to go in the season, but we're on the right track."
Luck helped the Colts rally from 7-0 and 14-10 deficits to a 33-14 lead in earning the eventual win. He did so in a high-profile game where outside storylines had him leading Indianapolis against Peyton Manning, who was the Colts' starting quarterback from 1998-2011 and who owns numerous franchise positional records.
Luck completed 21-of-38 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. All of his scoring tosses came in the first half – 11 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey, 20 yards to Stanley Havili and eight yards to Coby Fleener – as Indianapolis took a 26-14 lead.
It was Luck's 11-yard scramble on third-and-11 on the drive where he teamed with Havili that gave the Colts a lead they did not lose the rest of the evening.
In the second half, Luck scrambled 10 yards for a score to push Indianapolis further ahead. It was Luck's eighth career rushing touchdown, a total that ranks second among NFL quarterbacks over the last two seasons.
Luck earned this honor in 2012 in the Colts' 23-20 victory over Miami. Against the Dolphins and rookie Ryan Tannehill, Luck hit 30-of-48 passes for 433 yards, an NFL rookie record, and two touchdowns. Nine of his completions topped 20 yards, and he hit 13-of-17 for 204 yards on third downs.
The victory by Indianapolis over Denver pushed the Colts to 5-2 and two games ahead of Tennessee in the AFC South. It kept the Colts on pace with New England and Cincinnati. Kansas City, 7-0, and Denver, 6-1, own the AFC's best records.
After setting NFL rookie records with 627 attempts, 4,374 yards and six 300-yard games, Luck has played very well in 2013.
He took the first 255 snaps this year before sitting down in the latter stages of the Colts' 37-3 win at Jacksonville. Added to last year, Luck took the first 1,364 snaps of his career, joining Manning as the only quarterbacks in the Indianapolis era to have snap streak span past 1,000 consecutively.
Luck and his teammates have kept the Colts from losing consecutive games during Chuck Pagano's tenure. Each of the club's seven losses have been followed by triumphs and with the club holding a 7.1-point victory margin in those outings.
The Denver win came after a 19-9 setback at San Diego six days earlier. The other time this year the Colts came back from a loss was with a 27-7 win at San Francisco after falling to Miami.
Luck has forged a 16-7 starting record, tying John Elway as top overall picks who reached 14 wins the fastest (20 games), then getting to 15 faster than Elway (21 games). Elway and Luck share the same Stanford pedigree, and Elway was on hand to watch Luck battle Denver last Sunday.
The Colts under Luck have achieved nine game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, a total that ties Luck with Jake Plummer for the most in the first two seasons of a career since 1970.
The six-point win over Denver pushed the Colts to 3-1 this year in games decided by seven points or less. The Colts are 12-2 in such games under Luck with wins in 11 of the last 12.
For the season, Luck has hit 136-of-224 passes for 1,574 yards, with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Through seven games a year ago, the Colts were 4-3 and Luck had completed 160-of-288 passes for 1,971 yards, with eight touchdowns and interceptions.
His completion percentage is up from last year's 54.1 to 60.7, while his yards per attempt have increased from 6.98 to 7:03. The plus-seven margin of touchdowns to interceptions has helped the Colts tie for the second-best turnover ratio (13:6, plus-seven) in the league.
Luck's rating through seven games has risen from 74.6 at this stage last year to 91.3, 13th in the league. His touchdown percentage (4.5) is 13th, while his interception percentage (1.3) ties the third-best mark.
COLTS NOTES – Through seven games, Reggie Wayne was the most targeted receiver for Indianapolis at 58. T.Y. Hilton is second at 54, while Darrius Heyward-Bey (35) and Griff Whalen (three) round out the 150 total targets for wide receivers. Running backs have been targeted 38 times (RBs: 11, Donald Brown; 8, Ahmad Bradshaw; 7, Trent Richardson; 2, Vick Ballard; Fullbacks: 8, Stanley Havili; 2, Robert Hughes). Coby Fleener has 32-of-39 passes targeted to tight ends, followed by Dominique Jones (three), Dwayne Allen (two) and Jack Doyle (two).
Colts Positional Reception Totals at Time of Reggie Wayne Injury