Andrew Luck Powers Colts To NFL’s 2nd-Greatest Playoff Comeback

Andrew Luck, the sophomore Indianapolis Colts quarterback playing in just his second NFL postseason game, led his team to a mind-boggling 28-point comeback as the Colts stunned the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 Saturday at Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium.

The comeback was the second-greatest deficit ever overcome by a winning NFL playoff team, according to Sports Illustrated. And it was the biggest comeback in any NFL playoff game to be won inside the regulation 60 minutes.

Only the Buffalo Bills 32-point comeback against the Houston Oilers in 1992 was better. In 1980, the San Francisco 49ers also overcame a 28-point margin to beat the New Orleans Saints. But both teams needed overtime to seal their victories.

Drafted with the top pick overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, if Andrew Luck hasn’t already made Colts fans forget about the loss of Peyton Manning, he may get his chance next weekend. Depending on the results of Sunday’s NFL playoff games, the AFC Divisional round could see Andrew Luck matched up against Manning’s Denver Broncos in Denver.

If the Cincinnati Bengals, playing at home, defeat the San Diego Chargers this afternoon (CBS TV, 1:05 pm ET), then the Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning dream matchup happens next Sunday, January 12, at 4:40 pm ET on CBS.

If the lower-seeded Chargers pull off the upset against Cincinnati, then Andrew Luck leads the Colts to New England on Saturday, January 11 for another type of dream matchup. That one would pit Luck against Patriots’ future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. The game would be televised by CBS, at 8:15 pm ET, according to the TV site Zap2It.

For now, however, Colts fans will savor the Andrew Luck performance against Kansas City that nailed down the 24-year-old’s standing as an instant legend, in the view of Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz.

Though he passed for four touchdowns, three in the second half, it wasn’t a perfect show by any means. Anytime a quarterback throws three interceptions in a playoff game as Andrew Luck did against the Chiefs, he’ll need plenty of, shall we say, good fortune to win the game.

And Andrew Luck had exactly that on one play in particular.

With the Colts behind 41-31 early in the fourth quarter and threatening to score on second-and-goal at Kansas City’s 2-yard line, Indy’s star running back Donald Brown fumbled the ball as he plowed toward the end zone.

Flying through the air, the ball ricocheted off the helmet of Colts center Samson Satele — and directly into the arms of Andrew Luck. The alert quarterback powered into the end zone for a touchdown that brought the Colts to within three points.

“I just told him, I said, ‘All your touchdown passes and all that great stuff today. That was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen in my life,”’ Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri — who played on three New England Patriots Super Bowl winning teams with Brady and also won a Super Bowl with the Colts behind Manning — told The Boston Globe. “That was so awesome…. It was pretty special.”