This Date in Sports History: December 18 (12/18)

December 18, 2011: On this day in sports history…

Dan Orlovsky. If Andrew Luck continues this pace, he may become an answer to a good trivia question. For thirteen years the Indianapolis Colts were a model NFL franchise, and were synonymous with one man, quarterback Peyton Manning. After begin drafted 1st overall in 1998, Manning rewrote the Colts record book, won four MVP awards, led the Colts perennially to the playoffs, and appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one. Following neck surgery Manning would not play during the 2011 season. After making the playoffs in 2010 (losing to the Jets in a last-minute wild-card round game), The Colts floundered in ’11 without Manning. They started 0-13, including a 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints, and saw futility under center, with starts made by Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. Desperate to avoid 0-16, the Colts on December 18th, defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-13, who were at the time 7-6 and fighting for a wild card berth. Dan Orlovsky, a Connecticut Husky alum, despite only 82 passing yards was the winning quarterback, who coincidentally started several games for the 2008 Detroit Lions who went 0-16. Donald Brown, another UConn alum, rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown in the win.
Orlovsky would grab another W the following week against the Texans, and the Colts would finish 2-14. Four months later, the Colts would draft Andrew Luck #1 overall out of Stanford, and the Colts franchise was back on track. Currently 9-5, looking like a playoff team with an MVP candidate under center, as a rookie, it’s not crazy to think Luck may be ready for a Manning-esque 14 year-141 win run in Indy. If so, remember December 18, 2011 and Dan Orlovsky, the bridge, the answer to a trivia question.