INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck started his NFL career just like Peyton Manning — with a long touchdown pass on his first throw.
Then he one-upped his predecessor by winning his first NFL preseason game, 38-3 over St. Louis.
It was a perfect opening day for Luck and the Colts.
Indianapolis's coaches wanted this year's No. 1 overall draft pick to take 20 to 25 snaps. He got 24. They wanted to keep him upright, and though Luck hit the ground twice, he was not sacked. They wanted him to show his command of the offense, and in less than a half of play, Luck seemed to take a page right out of Manning's playbook.
Luck wound up of 10 of 16 for 188 yards with two TD passes. Three of the incompletions were drops, two were throwaways, and only one pass, a deep out to rookie T.Y. Hilton, came close to being picked off. But Hilton hauled it in, barely getting both feet inbounds, and in typical Manning fashion, Luck rushed the Colts to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball before the Rams could challenge.
But it was Luck's quick start that dazzled Colts fans.
With the rookie quarterback under pressure on his first NFL play, Luck calmly dumped the ball off to Brown, who darted up the field with blockers in front, then cut from right to left and outran the defense to the end zone. Luck pumped his fist in the air and jogged to the sideline with a broad smile across his face.
It was only the start.
On Luck's third series, he converted a third-and-3 with the 12-yard completion to Hilton. Four plays later, Austin Collie beat zone coverage and Luck found him in the front corner of the end zone for a 23-yard score to give Indy a 14-0 lead.
Not enough? After the Rams got a 37-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 14-3, Luck answered with a methodical 13-play, 80-yard drive, disregarding the three drops. Delone Carter ended the drive with a 1-yard run to make it 21-3.