INDIANAPOLIS — All Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne wanted to do was honor coach Chuck Pagano the best way they knew how — by winning.
The two biggest playmakers on Indy’s offense teamed up in the second half, wiping out an 18-point halftime deficit and hooking up on a 4-yard TD pass with 35 seconds left that gave the Colts a stunning 30-27 victory over Green Bay.
It was a wild finish to an emotionally challenging week, and a win interim coach Bruce Arians called the greatest he’s ever been around.
When the Colts returned to work Monday, following their bye, they learned Pagano had been diagnosed with leukemia and was being treated in a hospital. On Friday, they received an email from their coach urging them to focus on getting to .500 — rather than trying too hard to win one for the coach who celebrated his 52nd birthday Tuesday.
“My condition will not determine my position. I understand the condition but choose to focus on my position. That is to stay positive and serve. We will, we can, we must. We have no choice. By any means necessary. We will overcome.”
Wayne and Luck took the message personally and delivered in a way Pagano wanted with clutch plays.
Luck finished 31 of 55 for a career-high 362 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Wayne caught 13 passes for a career-high 212 yards and the game-winning score.
Things sure weren’t easy for Indy (2-2), which had to dig itself out from a 21-3 halftime deficit. In the final 30 minutes, the Colts got chances and took advantage.
Luck threw an 8-yard TD pass to Dwayne Allen, then set up Adam Vinatieri for a 50-yard field goal to make it 21-13 midway through the third quarter.
The Colts were just getting started.
Luck scored on a 3-yard run with 18 seconds left to get the Colts within 21-19. A few minutes later, the Colts took their first lead on Vinatieri’s 28-yard field goal.
That’s when Aaron Rodgers jump-stared the Green Bay offense. Alex Green ran 41 yards on the Packers’ first play, and Rodgers threw an 8-yard TD pass to James Jones on the next one, giving Green Bay (2-3) a 27-22 lead with 4:30 left.
But Luck had one more chance and he wasn’t going to disappoint his biggest fan.
The rookie quarterback marched Indianapolis 80 yards in 13 plays, converting three third-down chances before hooking up with Wayne for the decisive score.
Green Bay had a chance to force overtime, but Mason Crosby missed a 51-yard field goal to the left — a miss that set off a wild celebration on the Colts’ sideline.
Rodgers was 21 of 33 for 243 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.