Throwback Thursday: Luck Rallies Colts Against Rodgers, Packers


October 7, 2012. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers roll into Indianapolis looking to get a win against rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, a team sitting at a 1-2 record after a devastating loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and were coming off of a bye-week.

But that wasn’t the headline for this game, it was about something much, much bigger.

Just two weeks prior, first-year head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia just mere days after the team’s loss to the Jaguars in week three.

Reggie Wayne, whom had ties to Pagano stretching all the way back to his collegiate days in Miami, went against the NFL’s dress code of standardized gloves by wearing orange gloves which represented leukemia awareness. The Colts and their fans wanted this game badly for Pagano, and for the city.

It all seemed too good to be true though, as the Packers lead the Colts 21-3 going into the half.

At that point, what would be a Cinderella story of a win for the Colts as their coach fought his battle with cancer right down the road seemed very far-fetched.

But it would be the second-half of the game in which Andrew Luck would show his team and the rest of the football world that he would refuse to let down Pagano.

Luck would throw an 8-yard TD pass to Dwayne Allen and then set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal the following drive to cut the deficit to only eight points.

Shortly thereafter, Vinatieri would hit another field goal, this one a 28-yard attempt to give the Colts their first lead of the game at 22-21.

But Aaron Rodgers was typical Aaron Rodgers and found the end-zone once more to give the Packers a 27-20 lead with a little over four minutes to go in regulation.

More from Horseshoe Heroes

After finding Reggie Wayne for a 4-yard score the next drive, that was all the Colts would need to cap off the shocking comeback after a missed 51-yard field goal attempt from Mason Crosby that would’ve sent the game into overtime.

The atmosphere in Lucas Oil was ecstatic. It was almost like a scene from a Hollywood movie. It almost felt as if it was all too good to be true,

But it was true. And owner Jim Irsay delivered the game ball to Pagano shortly after the victory, whom had been watching from his hospital room.

Reggie Wayne had one of his best games as a Colt, catching 13 passes for a career-high 212 yards and the game-winning touchdown, all while wearing his symbolic orange gloves, which made the team’s victory even more fitting.

The game was the beginning of a movement, known as “ChuckStrong” that would be carried on throughout the remainder of the season. It was truly one of the feel-good stories in the league that year.

The Colts got the win for the team, but more importantly, they got it for their coach that evening.