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Luck’s record day gets Colts a third straight win

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck throws against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Andrew Luck was expected to do big things when the Colts took him first overall in April’s draft.

He isn’t making them wait long for it to happen. Luck threw for a NFL rookie record 433 yards and led the Colts to a 23-20 win over the Dolphins that leaves Indianapolis with a 5-3 record at the midway point of Luck’s first season. Luck threw a pair of touchdowns, one to Reggie Wayne in the first half and a highlight reeler to T.Y. Hilton for 36 yards in the second half. Hilton and Donnie Avery both went north of 100 yards on the day and Luck’s offense converted 13-of-19 third downs to keep moving the ball down the field.

The Colts did all that on the day that coach Chuck Pagano returned to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the game and address the team. We don’t know what he said, but we can guess what he might say now that it is in the books.

It could feature “Yeah” with a word that rhymes with Luck, but definitely isn’t Luck, directly before it. Referee Tony Corrente uttered a slightly different phrase on an inadvertently open microphone during the fourth quarter, prompting an apology from the announcers. Watching Luck on Sunday was worthy of the occasional expletive, though.

Ryan Tannehill tried to rally the Dolphins late, but couldn’t get the team in position to tie or win the game. It would have helped if cornerback Sean Smith held onto a third down pass that Luck put right into his hands on a third down in Colts territory with just under three minutes to play. Marcus Thigpen had a good return to midfield on the ensuing punt, but a holding call meant that the Dolphins didn’t get to take advantage of that field position either.

Tannehill and the Dolphins offense had a big first half, but the Colts tightened up in the second half and allowed Miami just three points. The Dolphins running game couldn’t establish itself after the half and Tannehill wasn’t up to winning his first duel with Luck all by himself. At 4-4, the Dolphins still have life in the playoff chase but they’ll need to find a way past the Colts after failing to find it on Sunday.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m. ET: It seems Pagano waited until he was in the locker room after the game to utter the aforementioned word that rhymes with Luck.