October 01, 2014
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws as he is tackled by Tennessee Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Mike Adams got a firsthand look at Peyton Manning's record-breaking blockbuster last season in Denver.

Now the former Broncos safety is hoping to catch the sequel with his new teammates in Indianapolis.

With Andrew Luck off to the best statistical start of his pro career, the Colts' new starting safety has started detecting trends that seem to come from the same script - an offense that keeps the defense on the sideline, a scoreboard that resembles a video game and a quarterback that has seemingly mastered every facet of the game.

''It almost feels like every time a third down comes, he moves the chains and that's the key. Move the chains, move the chains and eventually you know six points are coming, so, yeah, it does kind of feel like (last year),'' Adams said Wednesday.

It may not seem fair to compare Luck's spectacular early season numbers to a 16-game run from Manning, a run many consider the greatest season for a quarterback in league history. Manning threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both NFL records.

But if the Colts' franchise quarterback stays healthy and keeps playing this efficiently, Luck could work his way into the conversation.

Manning's successor in Indy has never played better - and the numbers prove it.

He has completed 60 of 80 passes for 763 yards with eight touchdowns and only one interception over the past two games, and he's only been sacked twice in the past three weeks.

Instead of having to engineer late rallies, he's led the Colts (2-2) to back-to-back blowouts against division rivals. And the 25-year-old Luck leads the league with 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns and has led the Colts to an NFL-best 136 points.

At this rate, the Colts' franchise quarterback may not only break Manning's single-season franchise records for completions, yards passing and touchdowns in fewer attempts, he would become the first player in Colts' history to throw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.

Coach Chuck Pagano was so impressed with Luck's 393-yard, four-touchdown performance Sunday, he even compared the current two-game run to Michael Jordan being in a zone in his prime. He's not alone.

''Wow! Fifty-two touchdowns, wow! That's my man,'' Adams said when told of Luck's current pace. ''I'm rooting for him.''

Luck would rather focus on film study rather than the rave reviews, and he insists the biggest reason for this surge is actually his teammates.

Receivers Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton are both ranked among the AFC's top 10 in receptions. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw already has a career-high four touchdown receptions.

Dwayne Allen's three TD catches are third among NFL tight ends, and an offensive line that was decimated by injuries during the preseason has managed to clear the way for Indianapolis to produce three straight 100-yard rushing games and set a club record for most total yards over a two-game span (1,027).

Luck's goal is simple: Keep the momentum.

''I think if you can get that ball rolling and not relax, not take your foot off the pedal in a sense, you hopefully can corral some of that momentum and keep it going,'' he said.

Indy may not need to make any major revisions Sunday against Baltimore (3-1).

While the Ravens' usually stout defense is allowing 15.0 points, the pass defense has been suspect. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 64.2 percent of their passes, thrown one interception and been sacked only four times.

And now Baltimore is up against one of the NFL's hottest quarterbacks in a city where it has never won.

Indy expected Luck to emerge as the best young quarterback in the league when it drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2012.

He hasn't disappointed. As a rookie, Luck engineered one of the greatest one-season turnarounds in league history and leading the Colts back to the playoffs.

Last year, Luck cut his interception total in half, increased his completion percentage, led the Colts to the AFC South title and directed the second-largest comeback in playoff history.

This season, Luck blamed himself for a botched play call on the goal line in Denver and a late red zone interception against Philadelphia, plays that may have cost Indy two wins.

But as he works out the kinks, Luck is becoming the headline star in the NFL's top offense.

''It's not a shock,'' tight end Coby Fleener said. "I think this is kind of the Andrew Luck that everybody here sees on a daily basis, and now the people that follow the stats actually maybe believe it.''

Notes: Pagano said left guard Jack Mewhort (ankle) will be replaced in the starting lineup this week by Lance Louis, who started in place of the injured Hugh Thornton at right guard last Sunday. ... Pagano also said safety Sergio Brown will replace LaRon Landry in the lineup as Landry serves a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Pagano said he was ''disappointed'' when he found out about the suspension.

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