INDIANAPOLIS -- For Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, the goal never was outplaying Colts legend Peyton Manning or trying to compile statistics that would increase his popularity in the city where Manning put the NFL franchise front and center in the state that worships basketball.
While he respects Manning and all of No. 18's lofty accomplishments, Luck has one mission: winning. Period.
Luck and the Colts spoiled the Denver Broncos' perfect season and Manning's potential record-setting day with a 27-24 victory Sunday in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis led 17-0 in the second quarter, but Denver rallied to tie the game 17-17 in the third quarter and 24-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri's 55-yard field goal with 6:13 remaining gave Indianapolis a three-point lead. The Colts drove 33 yard in seven plays, setting up the go-ahead score.
Reserve cornerback Darius Butler intercepted a Manning pass 13 seconds later, and Denver (7-1) never got the ball back.
Luck, who took over under center in Indianapolis after Manning was released following the 2011 season, completed 21 of 36 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns.
Indianapolis improved to 4-5, breaking a three-game losing streak and taking sole possession of first place in the AFC South.
"Finally, we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot," said Luck, who struggled with turnovers and sacks during the first eight games of the season. "The defense and special teams were great complementary pieces today. And for once we weren't down three scores, which limits what you can do offensively.
"We know we have the pieces to be a great team, and today, we made some passes, were consistent and got lucky with a couple of dropped (potential) interceptions. We all needed a win after all that has happened, so this was almost like a one-game playoff. Everybody did a great job blocking out all the situations we had going this week."
Manning finished 21 of 36 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and two costly interceptions. Manning needed 284 passing yards to pass Brett Favre's NFL career record and needed one victory for his 187th, which also would break the all-time record set by Favre.
"When you don't play as well as you would like, it's hard to win on the road," Manning said. "We just didn't play well enough."
Three things we learned about the Broncos:
1. While the Broncos found ways to win their first seven games, they showed a rare flash of undisciplined emotion late in this game. An unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty was called against cornerback Aqib Talib on the Colts' final drive when he poked TE Dwayne Allen in the eye. Then, the Broncos were called for holding during a Colts' field-goal attempt with less than 20 seconds to play, denying Peyton Manning and the offense an opportunity to try to win the game.
2. Denver's vaunted defense brought all kinds of blitzes at Andrew Luck, but the Indianapolis offensive line permitted only one sack (a 7-yard loss), and WRs T.Y. Hilton and Griff Whalen were wide open several times running crossing routes when the Broncos blitzed.
3. In addition to Luck completing 21 of 36 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, Denver really could not contain the Indianapolis rushing attack, which produced 120 yards.
--QB Peyton Manning had 281 passing yards Sunday against the Colts. He now has 71,836 during his career, three yards short of breaking Brett Favre's record of 71,838.
--LB Demarcus Ware had a first-half sack of Colts QB Andrew Luck. He now has 133.5 sacks during his career and ranks tied for 10th in NFL history. Former Buffalo star Bruce Smith has the all-time record with 200.
--TE Owen Daniels made six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown -- by far his best game of the season -- and now has 23 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns in 2015.