INDIANAPOLIS –Sunday at Detroit, Andrew Luck had three seconds left on the clock and one sling left in his arm.
Luck bought time, read the field and hit Donnie Avery for a 14-yard winning score in a 35-33 triumph, a game that four minutes earlier found Indianapolis down by 12 points.
Luck navigated the Colts 85 and 75 yards to win at the gun, hitting seven-of-16 passes (counting two spikes) for 112 yards and two scores on the combined marches, as well as rushing three times for 33 yards.
It was the fifth time this year the Colts have won in the fourth quarter or overtime, tying Luck with Vince Young (2006) and Ben Roethlisberger (2004) for the most by a rookie since the 1970 Merger.
Luck and Seattle's Russell Wilson yesterday became the first pair of rookies with a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of regulation or in overtime on the same day, and they join Tim Couch and Matthew Stafford as the only rookies since 1970 with a game-winning toss with no time left on the clock.
Arians departed Indianapolis for Cleveland in 2000, so he was not around for most of the comeback hijinks Peyton Manning authored from 1998-2010.
Arians has had a front-row seat for Luck, and he sees a likeness with his current star pupil and one he left behind in Pittsburgh to join Indianapolis.
"I think they're gunslingers," said Arians of Luck and Roethlisberger. "Sometimes you get shot, but they're both gunslingers.
"They live for the moment. They're going to take their shots. They're not always going to be right, but they're going to bounce right back, 'Give me the ball.' They both have that mentality, and Peyton (Manning) had it, too, 'Give me the ball.' Especially in crunch time, 'Just hold them to where we can win this thing, and I'll go win it for you.' "
Manning is credited with 45 fourth-quarter and overtime game-winning drives where he rallied the Colts to wins after deficits or ties. He had seven in 1999 and 2006.
Roethlisberger is credited with 22 fourth-quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives.
Luck still is very young compared to Manning and Roethlisberger, but he has a demonstrated flair for the moment, plus a reset button that is necessary to hit when bad things happen previously in a game.
"That's how you have to live. The position is kind of like corner. You have to have amnesia at corner," said Arians. "It's part of that position."
At Detroit, not everything was smooth for Luck. He had three interceptions and 30 incompletions. He was harried at times and bought time in the pocket when needed.
Arians has seen it all, though, and he knows having a quarterback like Luck means a 60-minute competitive mindset at that key position.
"You know you have a chance until the last tick goes off the clock with those guys, as long as you can keep it within a manageable striking distance," said Arians.
HEALTH UPDATE – While Arians could provide no updates on offensive linemen Joe Reitz and Winston Justice and the concussions suffered by each at Detroit. He said he emerged fine himself after a being bowled over in a fourth-quarter sideline collision.
"Just a little stiff (laughs), but I'm okay. I can take their best shot," quipped Arians.
PERSONNEL NEWS – The Colts waived tight end Dominique Jones. In four games this season, Jones has one reception for eight yards.