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Throwback Thursday: Luck, Colts Defeat Broncos in Manning’s Homecoming


Three years ago, the Indianapolis Colts and owner Jim Irsay released longtime quarterback Peyton Manning after spending the previous 14 seasons in Indianapolis. The main reason being Manning’s numerous procedures on his neck. The even bigger reason for Manning’s release? A kid from Stanford named Andrew Luck.

The Colts owned the first overall pick of the 2012 draft after the 2011 season saw a very underwhelming 2-14 finish.

Fast forward to a year later, and Luck saw himself with the chance to defeat his predecessor that was Manning and quiet down the Manning/Luck talks.

By the time the two teams met, Manning and the Broncos were on a hot streak while forming what would be a record-breaking offense. On the other hand, Luck and the Colts had been two-weeks fresh off of a win against the powerhouse Seattle Seahawks, a game in which they were massive underdogs. They faced the same adversity for the match-up against the Broncos. They were preparing for a dogfight, and they were ready.

Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts fans hold up signs referencing quarterback Andrew Luck (not pictured) and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (not pictured) during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts played arguably one of their best games of the season on both sides of the ball and led 26-14 at half. Two of the most prolific moments of the game came in the first-half when Colts punter Pat McAfee leveled Broncos kick returner Trindon Holliday on a return early in the first quarter, a hit so hard that McAfee was drug tested by the NFL the next day.

The second impact play happened when Robert Mathis, one of the defensive cornerstones for Indianapolis during the Manning era, sacked Manning near the Bronco’s own end zone and forced a fumble which would be recovered for a touchdown.

Manning wasn’t going to lie down and accept defeat though and Colts fans knew this. He is Peyton Manning after all and has shown time after time that he’s capable of making the most seemingly impossible comebacks look rather easy. Manning found Demaryius Thomas early in the fourth quarter for a 31-yard touchdown to cut the Colts’ deficit to just 12 with a little over twelve minutes left in regulation. The next Broncos drive saw Knowshon Moreno punch it in for a one-yard score to cut the deficit to just six points.

However, the Colts defense stepped up when it needed to when Erik Walden sacked manning, forcing the ball up into the air where it was picked off by Pat Angerer. An Adam Vinatieri field goal ultimately sealed the victory for Luck and the Colts, giving them a 39-33 victory.

This was a game that was extremely hyped by the time the 2013 schedule had been released for the NFL, and it certainly delivered. For Luck, he distanced himself further from all of the comparisons made between him and Manning ever since the day he was drafted by the Colts. It would end up being one of the Colts many signature wins for the 2013 season, and a game that Colts fans would remember for years to come.

It was a day in which Colts fans saw the past go up against the present, the legend vs. the future. A day where Colts fans knew that they were in good hands for a very, very long time.

Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shakes hands with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

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