INDIANAPOLIS — All Chuck Pagano asked the Indianapolis Colts to do was focus on football.

Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne did that – and more to honor their ailing coach.

The rookie quarterback and veteran receiver connected at the most critical moments Sunday, including a 4-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to complete the Colts' second-half rally and stun Green Bay 30-27 on perhaps the most emotional day in Lucas Oil Stadium history.

"I'm sure we were all lying to everybody the whole week, trying to downplay it," Luck said after throwing for a career-high 362 yards. "I think we all went out there wanting to do it for Chuck more than anything else. To see all the emotions on Mr. Irsay's face, BA's, everyone in there, I think it's one of the greatest athletic moments I've ever been a part of."

It's a day nobody in Indy or around the league will soon forget.

Interim coach Bruce Arians, nicknamed BA, acknowledged he was fighting back tears when he spoke to reporters. From the sounds of it, so were Luck and Wayne.

The sometimes emotional team owner, Jim Irsay, sniffled as he spoke inside a silent locker room before dashing off dash to the hospital where Pagano is undergoing treatment for leukemia. He wanted to personally deliver the game ball to Pagano, who celebrated his 52nd birthday Tuesday.

"We know what kind of man we have down the street, fighting, fighting for his life, and winning the fight," Irsay said. "You guys doing this today, Bruce coming in, all you guys pulling together, Reggie being so close to Chuck going back for so long. Everyone in here knows how much that this means, and this ball is going right down the street."

Pagano made it perfectly clear Friday, in an emotional email to players and coaches, that he didn't want guys playing for him; he simply wanted the Colts (2-2) to play for themselves and match last season's victory total.

"Focus on being 500 by 4:30pm on Sunday. Nothing else," he wrote. "That has to be our mind set. 60 minutes, all you got, one play at a time! WIN!"

Turns out the players wanted this one even more for Pagano than he wanted it for them.

"I've got 12 years of (special) games," said Wayne, who has known Pagano since the two were at the University of Miami together in the late 1990s. "But this did mean a lot, just with the whole deal with how the week's been going. You know, I talked to coach Pagano and he wanted us to win so bad. Is it a high? Yeah. I don't necessarily have one other than the Super Bowl game. But it's up there."

Team officials honored Pagano by hanging signs that read (hash)Chuckstrong behind each goal post and wore lapel pins with orange ribbons on a white background.

Luck and Wayne showed their support in another way.

The No. 1 draft pick was 31 of 55 throwing with two touchdowns and one interception, and ran for a TD, too.

Wayne finished with 13 receptions for a career-high 212 yards – the second-highest total in Colts history behind Hall of Famer Raymond Berry in 1957. And he wore the orange gloves, instead of the traditional pink ones for breast cancer awareness month, because that's the color for leukemia patients.

"I just wanted to do something, you know, for Chuck," Wayne explained. "I had some equipment guys make some calls. If they (NFL officials) fine me, they fine me, I really feel like that would be a terrible thing to do, but if so, so be it, I'll go ahead and take the fine and do it for Chuck."

It was a wild finish to an emotionally-charged week in Indy that began with Monday morning's announcement that Pagano had been diagnosed with leukemia after players left for their bye week.

Green Bay (2-3) had a chance to force overtime with a 51-yard field goal. But Mason Crosby's attempt went left with 3 seconds to go, setting off an emotional celebration on the Colts sideline.

"I thought they (Colts) played well," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Obviously, a tough week for them. I thought they played with a lot of emotion, a lot of energy. Frankly, I'm more focused on my football team and my football team is not playing the way we are capable of playing."

Pagano knew the motto all week would be to win one for the coach.

On Friday, he set out to change that speech – a message Wayne and Luck took personally, especially after falling into a 21-3 halftime deficit.

In the second half, the Colts dominated.

Luck threw an 8-yard TD pass to Dwayne Allen and set up Adam Vinatieri for a 50-yard field goal to make it 21-13 midway through the third quarter. He then ran it in from 3 yards out with 18 seconds left in the third quarter to get the Colts within 21-19.

A few minutes later, Vinatieri hit a 28-yard field goal to give Indy its first lead, 22-21.

But Aaron Rodgers got Green Bay's offense back in sync in a hurry.

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 to give the Packers a 27-20 lead with 4:30 to go. Rodgers was 21 of 33 for 243 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

All the Packers had to do was stop Luck one more time to clinch it.

Luck and Wayne wouldn't allow it.

With the clock ticking down and anxious fans hoping and praying they could get this win for Pagano, Luck converted two third-down passes to Wayne, then scrambled for a third third-down conversion before, fittingly, spotting Wayne for the go-ahead score.

"Chuck's instilled a lot in us," Wayne said. "His whole motto since day one, the first meeting has been team team, team, team. Nothing else. So we've wanted to do it every week as a team. That's all we practice, that's all we preach."

NOTES: The Packers lost three starters during the game – running back Cedric Benson (ankle), defensive tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) and tight end Jermichael Finley (right shoulder). McCarthy did not have immediate updates after the game. ... Colts defensive end Robert Mathis left with a knee sprain and did not return after trying on a brace. ... Wayne now has catches in 100 consecutive games and passed college and pro teammate Edgerrin James for No. 2 on the Colts career list for yards from scrimmage. ... Packers receiver Donald Driver played in his 197th career game Sunday, breaking a tie with Bart Starr for second in team history.

___

Online: and

Links:


Loading Slideshow...
  • Brendon Ayanbadejo, Javier Arenas

    Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (51) tackles Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Javier Arenas (21) during the first half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

  • Michael Vick

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, right, looks to pass as Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, left, applies pressure in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

  • Andrew Luck

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Ryan Kerrigan

    Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • Pete Morelli, John Harbaugh

    Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, left, talks with referee Pete Morelli, right, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

  • Trent Richardson, Chase Blackburn

    Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) breaks a takle by New York Giants middle linebacker Chase Blackburn (93) as Antrel Rolle (26) trails the play during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Victor Cruz

    New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) catches a touchdown pass in front of Cleveland Browns cornerback Trevin Wade (26) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Daniel Thomas, Jake Long

    Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) jumps in the arms of tackle Jake Long after Thomas scored a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Keating)

  • Victor Cruz

    New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) celebrates after catching his third touchdown pass of the game during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • James Jones, Josh Gordy

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones goes in for a six yard touchdown reception against Indianapolis Colts defensive back Josh Gordy during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

  • Robert Griffin III, Jonathan Massaquoi, Jonathan Babineaux

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is hit by Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi (96) and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (95) during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

  • Ryan Tannehill

    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) passes against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • A.J. Green, Andy Dalton

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) and quarterback Andy Dalton (14) celebrate after they connected on a 2-yard touchdown pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Keating)

  • Green Bay Packers v Indianapolis Colts

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07: A Indianapolis Colts fan watches the teams warm up before the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • Matt Ryan

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) dives for the end zone past Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis (23) after making a catch in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The Eagles did not score on the play. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Ben Roethlisberger

    Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) scrambles Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (97) in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

  • Shaun Suisham, Drew Butler, Doug Legursky

    Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham (6), celebrates kicking a game winning field goal over the Philadelphia Eagles with Pittsburgh Steelers holder Drew Butler, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Doug Legursky (64) at the end of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The Steelers won 16-14.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Joe Flacco Allen Bailey

    Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey (97) during the 4th quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Kansas City, MO. (AP Photo/Colin E Braley)

  • Matt Cassel

    Trainers assist Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The Ravens defeated the Chiefs 9-6. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

  • Michael Turner

    Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner carries the ball into the end zone for the winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Atlanta defeated Washington 24-17. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

  • Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek (87) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarterof an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The Steelers won 16-14. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

  • Aaron Rodgers, Cory Redding

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by Indianapolis Colts defensive end Cory Redding during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Tramon Williams, Dwayne Allen

    Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) goes in for an 8-yard touchdown reception while being defended by Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • James Jones,, Cassius Vaughn

    Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive back Cassius Vaughn (32) during the second half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Mike Neal, Andrew Luck

    Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is sacked by Green Bay Packers' Mike Neal during the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Michael Turner, Roddy White

    Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) celebrates his touchdown with teammate wide receiver Roddy White (84) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)

  • London Fletcher, Tony Gonzalez

    Washington Redskins inside linebacker London Fletcher, left, stops Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)

  • Cary Williams, Dwayne Bowe

    Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) catches a pass while covered by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams (29) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

  • Andy Dalton

    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes against the Miami Dolphins in the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • Jon Baldwin

    Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin (89) tries to catch a pass while covered by Baltimore Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

  • Roger Goodell

    National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, right, greets fans before an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Santana Moss

    Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss (89) carries the ball into the end zone on a touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)