Greatness On The Road  

Marriott  

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts show mettle in tough road tilt

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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It's tough to win on the road, especially if you're playing against a team that -- up until Sunday -- hadn't lost consecutive games under its current coach.

Greatest on the road ...

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The San Francisco 49ers were coming off a 29-3 prime-time pasting at the hands of the division-rival Seattle Seahawks. The Colts were coming off a disappointing 24-20 loss at home to the Miami Dolphins. The Sunday afternoon Colts-49ers showdown apppeared to be a classic case of a home team prepared to throw down the gauntlet on the visiting team. The 49ers had not lost consecutive games under coach Jim Harbaugh (7-0 coming off a loss entering Sunday), and Luck -- who just happened to have Harbaugh as a coach at Stanford -- was just 4-4 in road games in his brief NFL career.

Instead, the Colts pulled off Week 3's most startling upset this side of Minneapolis, defeating the 49ers 27-7 behind a stifling defensive effort and a power running game. With a bit more than four minutes remaining and his team up 13-7 in what had been a tight contest, Luck delivered the decisive blow. He faked a handoff to running back Ahmad Bradshaw and bootlegged left untouched for a game-sealing 6-yard touchdown run. The score capped an 11-play, 80-yard march to victory for Indianapolis, which improved its record to 2-1 and showed the Colts have some big-boy mettle when presented with a tough road assignment.

Also considered:

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns

Seriously, who saw this coming?

Well, Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin predicted greatness, for starters.

Cameron has quickly emerged from virtual unknown to one of the game's most dangerous receiving threats. The Browns' stunning 31-27 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the H.H.H. Metrodome was a coming-out party for the tight end, who entered the 2013 season with just one touchdown reception in his previous two seasons. Sunday's three-touchdown outburst boosted that total to five, with the fifth career score giving the Browns a go-ahead touchdown with 51 seconds remaining. Cameron's first touchdown on Sunday came on a 19-yard scoring play and the second came on a fake field-goal attempt gone gloriously right.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

With a two-touchdown, 385-yard performance, Stafford helped put an end to one of the NFL's longest-standing statistical oddities in the Lions' 27-20 win over the Washington Redskins. That victory marked the first time that the Lions won a game in the nation's capital, a losing streak of epic proportions that dates back to the FDR Administration and includes 21 defeats (including one in the 1991 NFC Championship Game). The Lions' last road win over the Redskins happened in 1935, when the Redskins were the "Boston Redskins" and called Fenway Park their home. That 1935 Lions team went on to win the NFL championship, the franchise's first. Lions fans can only hope this historic win is a precursor to a long-awaited title.

Previous Greatness on the Road winners:

» Week 1: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
» Week 2: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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