At the end of every third quarter in every football game at every level, every player puts four fingers in the air.
For some, it means they want four hot dogs. For most, it means that crunch time has arrived.
While every team can lay claim to the fourth quarter, only one NFL team currently owns it.
The Colts have outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter this year, 35-7. The only opposing points in the fourth quarter came from the Raiders in Week One, giving Oakland its first lead of the game.
Led by Andrew Luck, the Colts responded on the next drive, scoring a touchdown and taking the league for good.
Since then, the Colts haven’t allowed a single fourth-quarter point. With last week’s win over Seattle, Luck notched his ninth fourth-quarter come-from-behind win. For his career, he has won 15 games. Sixty percent of those victories came via fourth-quarter comebacks.
“It goes back to process, ‘One play at a time, all you got, 60 minutes, don’t judge,'” coach Chuck Pagano said, via quotes distributed by the team. “Play as hard as you can and make sure you’re in position [so] when the play shows up you’re there to make it. That’s what these guys are doing.”
Characteristically, Luck claims no credit for the performance, praising instead the defense for locking down when the game is on the line.
“It is remarkable,” Luck said. “They’ve been incredibly opportunistic. It’s so much nicer watching them instead of going up against them in training camp every day and you get frustrated when you throw an interception in a two-minute drill. It’s been great.”
Though Luck surely would prefer to put games away earlier, his poise and the defense’s ability to rise up when needed have thrust the Colts back among the AFC’s elite.