INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – So, any more questions about Andrew Luck’s arm strength?
Didn’t think so.
The end result was disheartening – a 37-34 overtime loss to Houston – but Luck should have quieted any concerns about his ability to lead a vibrant offense, even one missing a slew of significant players, Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Although his final pass attempt to Chester Rogers on a pivotal fourth-and-4 at his own 42 in overtime fell incomplete, Luck authored one of the best games of his career: 40-of-62, 464 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions, a 108.5 passer rating.
The completions, attempts and yards were career highs. The attempts eclipsed Jeff George’s team record (59 in 1993) while the completions tied Peyton Manning’s team mark (also against Houston in 2010). The yardage fell 8 yards shy of Manning’s single-game record.
The 62 attempts?
“That’s a lot,’’ Luck agreed. “Right now I feel tired. It was a long game. Sixty dropbacks is a lot.’’
Luck was the catalyst as the Colts eased into a 7-0 lead. On the opening drive of the game, he was 5-for-5 for 68 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Zach Pascal.
The rest of the first half, though, was a struggle. After the quick start, he was 7-of-19 for 74 yards, and buried under three sacks. He lost a fumble on a sack by J.J. Watt at his own 8-yard line, which led to a Texans’ TD that dropped the Colts into a 21-7 hole.
In the second half and overtime, Luck was 28-of-40 for 322 yards and TD passes to Nyheim Hines (two) and Eric Ebron.
It helped that his protection picked up. Early, tackles Le’Raven Clark and Denzelle Good struggled mightily with Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
“The comedy of errors that everybody was a part of dictated that we had to drop back a bunch,’’ Luck said. “And that’s not what you want to do against this team. 90 (Clowney), 99 (Watt) and 59 (Whitney Mercilus) are three elite rushers.
“I’m particularly proud of our offensive line for hanging in there.’’
Record for Vinatieri
On one front, Adam Vinatieri’s pursuit of Morten Andersen was completed. His 42-yard field goal in the second quarter was the 566th of his career, surpassing Andersen for the most in NFL history. He added a 44-yarder in overtime.
“It’s more fun when you get a win, that’s for sure,’’ Vinatieri said. “It’s a good record, fun record, just would be nice on a win, I guess.’’
Next up on Vinatieri’s “To Do’’ list is Andersen’s all-time mark for points scored. He tallied 7 points Sunday, pushing his career total to 2,518. He needs 27 to surpass Andersen (2,544).
Among the “comedy of errors’’ mentioned by Luck was a botched snap by center Ryan Kelly. It couldn’t have occurred at a worse place on the field: the Colts faced a second-and-10 at their own 2 on their second possession of the game.
Luck was in the shotgun, and Kelly’s snap barely cleared Kelly’s rear end.
After looking at the replay, Frank Reich wondered if Kelly thought Luck was under center.
Nope. Just bad execution from Kelly.
“I knew he was in the gun,’’ he said. “Thought the cadence was going to come a little faster. It’s my fault. I double-clutched it, ball in the end zone, they recovered it.
“I put that on myself.’’
Clowney recovered the errant snap in the end zone for a touchdown that tied the game at 7-all.
T.Y. Hilton’s status for Thursday night’s date with the Patriots in Foxborough is in doubt after he suffered a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the game he temporarily was sidelined with a chest injury.
Hilton was in obvious discomfort in the locker room after the game, and noncommittal about whether he would be able to play at New England.
Reich didn’t offer a lot of optimism.
“Probably not, probably not good,’’ he said. “I mean with the hamstring on a short week . . .’’
Cornerback Kenny Moore Ii didn’t return after being diagnosed with a concussion.
This and that
The Colts’ defense generated seven sacks, its most since posting that many against Tennessee Dec. 5, 2004. The defense has 17 sacks, a team record for most sacks through the first four games. The 1983 Baltimore Colts had 16.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.