The Indianapolis Colts traveled to Jacksonville on a short week, looking to avenge a division loss, in their first game as newly minted favorites to make the playoffs. No problem.
Luck finished 18-of-26 passing for 227 yards with one interception and two rushing touchdowns. Reggie Wayne caught eight passes for 96 yards, including a number of key third-down conversions. The crazy part: Luck's numbers could have been a lot better. Drops killed three Colts drives, and the team dialed back the offense to clock-killing mode in the second half of the game.
In the first half, Luck showed a national TV audience that he runs a vertical offense. The Colts had four plays over 20 yards and another bomb that was let go. The defense quietly has played better each week; it forced three turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Darius Butler.
This was a mature performance by a young team that is 6-3 and is in this playoff race for good. The Colts have a few more manageable games (Buffalo, Kansas City, Tennessee), but the schedule gets tougher overall, starting with a trip to New England in Week 11. The Colts also have to travel to Detroit and Houston.
We still aren't sure these Cinderella Colts are ready to beat a quality opponent on the road. Then again, Luck already is only one win away from the all-time record for quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall in a rookie season.
This is a Colts season that breaks the usual rules. This is a rookie quarterback who already plays like a top-10 veteran. This is a story that's just getting started.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.