The Indianapolis Colts deserve respect. People shouldn’t be rolling their eyes with the “next” expression upon their faces when the Colts are discussed as Super Bowl contenders. This is a legitimate team that plays hard.
The Colts are a young team, but won’t be treated like a little brother by anyone crossing their paths. Quarterback Andrew Luck and his troops have beaten some hefty opponents this season such as the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks (giving Seattle their first loss), Denver Broncos, and the Kansas City Chiefs, eventually claiming their division to host a playoff game.
And so the playoffs came. Enter the Chiefs again, for a rematch at Lucas Oil Stadium before of a vibrant blue and white crowd. First-year coach Andy Reid and his Chiefs were hotter than the red on their uniforms this season, getting off to a 9-0 start. These bad boys look much differently than the 2-14 team they were just a year ago, having a stellar top-ten rushing attack with a stout defense to compliment it.
The game seemed like it was going to end before the Colts ever had a chance, as they slipped into a 31-10 deficit by halftime.
Quarterback Alex Smith and his men in red opened the game with an 82-yard drive, ending with Smith tossing a six-yard touchdown pass to wide-out Dwayne Bowe. Luck responded, taking his team 74 yards, finishing with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver T.Y. Hilton.
In the second quarter, Indianapolis began to fall apart as turnovers ailed them. Tailback Trent Richardson fumbled and Luck threw a pick.
Fitting huh? It seemed similar to last season; Indianapolis has a magnificent regular season, only to be thrown like rag dolls on their backsides in the playoffs.
The Colts showed grit and weren’t going down without swinging.
The Chiefs opened their first third quarter drive with a touchdown after picking off Luck for the second time, feeling extremely confident with their 38-10 thrashing.
The Colts’ offense responded by scoring again as their defense forced a sack-fumble, ensuing another offensive touchdown. And so the meltdown of Kansas City began, the score was now 38-24 and Lucas Oil Stadium had a sky of blue and white, ecstatic and flailing everywhere with trembling cheers. The Colts were back in it, and wouldn’t look back; inching the nail closer and closer into the Chiefs’ coffin.
Luck finished the day with three interceptions and four touchdowns. He struggled early, but came alive when it mattered most to keep the season active. He threw beautifully around all angles of the field, demonstrating amazing poise in the pocket. Three of his four touchdowns came in the second half. His most brilliant play was recovering a Donald Brown fumble in the endzone and running it across the plane for seven.
The Colts’ defense gave up just 13 points throughout the second half of the game, which was an improvement after being hammered for 31 in the first half.
Indianapolis downed the ball as the clock began to melt, celebrating their 45-44 victory.
The Colts, with a 20th ranked defense, injuries to star players like wide-out Reggie Wayne, no rushing game, a second-year quarterback and head coach duo, find ways to not only win in the regular season, but the playoffs. Today’s victory wasn’t any chance’s luck, but the Luck behind center, accompanying a team that grinds with what their given. Coach Chuck Pagano has his group prepared, motivated, and ready to execute. Luck, Pagano, and the Colts will be special for years to come.