The Colts locked up the top pick in April's NFL draft, setting the stage to select the Stanford quarterback. They fell to 2-14 when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 169 yards, clinching the NFL rushing title and breaking Fred Taylor's single-season franchise record in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 19-13 victory Sunday.
The Jaguars (5-11) became the first AFC South opponent to sweep Indianapolis since 2002 and gave outgoing owner Wayne Weaver a victory in his final game.
The Colts may have been the big winners, though. Indy would have dropped to the No. 2 spot in the draft with a victory in Jacksonville. Instead, owner Jim Irsay will have the choice to draft Luck to join four-time MVP Manning.
Manning was on the sideline all season after neck surgery and had a front-row spot for the Jones-Drew Show.
But Jones-Drew wanted more. He talked earlier in the week about how special it would be to break Taylor's franchise mark of 1,572 yards set in 2003.
He did it in style, taking a third-quarter handoff around the left side, breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage and picking up 56 yards. It was his longest run in more than two years.
Teammates patted him on the helmet and shoulder pads. Two plays later, fans gave him a standing ovation as his achievement was announced over the public address system.
"As long as Mo stays healthy, he'll break every single record I ever set," Taylor said in a text message to The Associated Press. "He's a special talent with great work habits and deserves to be rewarded as such."
Jones-Drew also sealed the victory by picking up a first down in the closing minutes, sending many of the 60,000 on hand to the exits on New Year's Day.
The biggest applause of the day was for the Weavers. Wayne and his wife, Delores, were honored at halftime. Wayne Weaver almost singlehandedly brought the team to Jacksonville in 1993. After 18 years, 352 games and six playoff appearances, he is walking away from an exclusive club.
Weaver sold the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan last month for $770 million.
Khan officially takes over Wednesday. His biggest task is hiring a new coach.
Irsay must decide whether to pay Manning a $28 million bonus, let him become a free agent or work out a new deal with the franchise quarterback. Irsay has said that if Manning recovers from neck issues, he will be back in Indy, no matter the cost.
Questions also surround coach Jim Caldwell, team vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.
So Luck seems to be the only lock.