INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano provided the inspiration, then Andrew Luck delivered a record performance in another win for the surprising Colts.
After a 23-20 victory over Miami, the ailing coach offered even more encouragement.
Picked by many to be among the NFL's weakest team, the rebuilding Colts are in the playoff conversation at 5-3.
"You know where they had us in the beginning, every last one of them," Pagano said Sunday, surrounded by his players and with interim Bruce Arians at his side. "But you refused to live in circumstances and you decided consciously as a team and as a family to live in a vision, and that's why you bring things home like what you bring home today."
Luck wasn't too concerned that he broke Cam Newton's year-old record for yards passing in a game by a rookie. He just wanted to live up to the message from his coach, who has received treatment for leukemia since being diagnosed Sept. 26.
"His presence is felt every day in the facility," Luck said. "But to see him in the flesh, in the locker room, to hear him speak I think gave all the guys a boost."
It seemed to give Pagano a boost, too, after he watched the game from the coaches box.
"I've got circumstances. You guys understand it, I understand it," Pagano told them. "It's already beat. My vision that I'm living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and then lift the Lombardi Trophy several times. … Congratulations, I love all of you."
Luck threw for 433 yards and two touchdowns and is the second rookie to produce four 300-yard games in a season. The other: Peyton Manning, the quarterback he replaced.
Reggie Wayne hauled in a high pass with a toe-tap on the end line and rookie receiver T.Y. Hilton, a Miami native who played in college at Florida International, made a leaping 36-yard TD catch despite double coverage.
"We knew we'd have to disrupt him (Luck) a little bit. But we weren't detailed enough, we weren't disciplined enough on our rush," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "When you have the No. 1 defense on third down, and when a team converts 69 percent of the time on third down, it's a different feel."