There was nothing out of the ordinary for Andrew Luck following his NFL debut.
No game ball from the head coach. No congratulatory phone calls from anyone besides those he usually hears from.
"It was a preseason game," Luck said.
The impact still resonated far beyond the typical exhibition contest.
Luck's two-touchdown, 188-yard passing effort during a 38-3 rout of St. Louis didn't just showcase the skills that helped make him the top overall pick in last April's draft. It also allowed the Indianapolis Colts to further accelerate the healing process following the decision to cut ties with future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning during the offseason.
"We needed that," said Rebecca Purkey, a rabid 67-year-old Colts fan who lives in Anderson, Ind., where the team holds its training camp.
"Last year was so awful for us. We love Peyton so much, but Andrew seems like a great kid. I'm so excited!"
For the long term, she should be....