INDIANAPOLIS — Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Trailing 31-10 at halftime and 38-10 early in the third quarter, the Colts mounted the third-largest comeback in National Football League history and the second-largest comeback in NFL playoff history en route to an improbable, you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it 45-44 win Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
With quarterback Andrew Luck catching fire in the second half, a young Indianapolis squad took a huge step in their development with the huge comeback victory. Kansas City looked to be in control throughout. And they were.
But Luck — who had three interceptions in the game — kept willing the Colts onward. And onward they went. Depending on what happens today in Cincinnati’s wild-card game with San Diego, a second matchup with Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos could very well be in the offing.
A Bengals win pits Indianapolis against the Broncos in Denver on Sunday. A San Diego victory and the Colts will be traveling to Gillette Stadium for a Saturday meeting with the New England Patriots.
But without the big plays by Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, running back Donald Brown along with a defense, it wouldn’t have happened.
The second-year Indianapolis quarterback completed 29-of-45 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Hilton caught 13 passes for 224 yards and two TDs. Brown had 55 yards rushing with one rushing touchdown and had four catches for 54 and a TD.
“Everybody stepped up. Just about everybody on offense had two or three big plays,” Luck said afterward. “To make it a one-score game [late in the fourth quarter] was big. We knew coming in against [Kansas City’s] defense it would be tough to get yards.