It was a matchup of two surprise playoff contenders, each led by a rookie quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts (5-3, 1-1 AFC South) outlasted the Dolphins (4-4, 1-1 AFC East) for a 23-20 victory behind a record-breaking performance from quarterback Andrew Luck Sunday in Indianapolis. Luck was 30 of 48, including two touchdowns, and a record 433 yards. He spread the ball around -- four receivers had at least 75 yards, including Donne Avery and T.Y. Hilton, who both eclipsed 100.
His counterpart, Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, wasn't bad either. Tannehill threw for 290 yards and a score but couldn't move the ball at a crucial spot late in the fourth quarter, which doomed Miami.
Trailing by three at the two-minute warning, the Dolphins had a first down at midfield but couldn't advance any farther. They eventually turned the ball over on downs, and the Colts killed the clock.
The Colts were likely boosted by a visit from coach Chuck Pagano, who made his first trip to a game since he announced in late September that he had leukemia. Pagano visited with the team before and after the game.
When the game turned: Luck's TD pass to Hilton in the third quarter. Indianapolis had little trouble moving the ball -- evidenced by Luck's record-breaking performance -- but the Colts did struggle to break through and get into the end zone. Finally, late in the third, Luck hooked up with Hilton on a bit of a prayer, which gave Indy a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Highlight moments: Luck hit WR Reggie Wayne over the middle for a nice first-quarter touchdown. ... Hilton's touchdown came between two defenders, on a pass that Luck basically threw up for grabs. ... RB Vick Ballard ended the game with an impressive run, pushing Dolphins defenders down the field for the game-clinching first down. ... RB Reggie Bush made the Colts defense look foolish on a second-quarter touchdown that gave the Dolphins the halftime lead. ... Luck was able to draw the Miami defense offsides, giving the Colts a free play. Luck and Avery connected on a perfect throw and catch, giving Luck his longest completion (48 yards) of the season.
Top shelf performances:
- Colts: Luck -- 30 of 48, 433 yards, 2 TDs
- Colts: Hilton -- 6 catches, 102 yards, TD
- Dolphins: Tannehill -- 22 of 38, 290 yards, TD
- Dolphins: WR Brian Hartline -- 8 catches, 107 yards
What they said about Luck and his historic performance:
- Interim coach Bruce Arians: "His play today was superb. It was Pro Bowl caliber play. I know he broke the rookie single-game record, I believe. It was a team effort."
- Colts RB Delone Carter: "He matures every game he plays. I’m just excited to see him develop. It’s great to see him go out there with confidence and lead us to victory.”
- Colts WR Wayne: “That kid just continues to amaze. He has a really bright, bright future. Hopefully, I can help add to this legacy that he’s about to build. I was happy for him, man. He took control of the game as he always does. Like we’ve been saying all year, 'no panic, no pressure.'”
- Dolphins RB Bush: “He played well, obviously. He played a great game. He’s obviously a competitor, and a guy that is proven at a very early stage in his career. He did a great job today. On the other end, we’ve got to do a better job of stopping him.”
- Dolphins CB Nolan Carroll: “He’s a hell of a player. Just him being a rookie, he’s really good. He’s very smart and very intelligent. He was able to scramble and get out of the pocket. He was just able to make plays by himself.”
Numbers you should know: 433 -- The record Luck broke. Panthers QB Cam Newton held the record at 432, and, interestingly, the nearest quarterback to that mark has been Tannehill, who threw for 431 yards on Sept. 30 in a loss to the Cardinals. ... Four -- Luck is the second rookie quarterback of all time to throw for four 300-yard games in his first year. The other? Peyton Manning. ... Although not a dominant performance, rookie Ballard (16 carries for 60 yards) had another good game as Donald Brown's replacement. He has worked his way into at least a time share with Brown.
Injury update: RB Brown was active but only saw a few plays after experiencing swelling in his knee late this week. The Colts cornerbacks can't stay healthy, either. Vontae Davis sat out with a sprained knee, and opposite starting CB Jerraud Powers left the game with a toe injury.
Going forward: Colts -- They have a short week before heading to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars on Thursday, then they travel to face New England. Dolphins -- They host Tennessee next week before a quick turnaround to face the Bills in Buffalo on a Thursday night.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Colts blogger Evan Hilbert, follow @CBSColts.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Miami Dolphins from blogger Dave Carey, follow @CBSDolphins.