"I think he's realizing with Reg going down, with (fellow tight end) Dwayne (Allen) being out, that it's a great opportunity this year to really be the guy," Luck told the media Monday. "He's done a great job. His stat line continues to get better and better. His production has been great since he's been here, and he's a great teammate."
Indianapolis has been looking for ways to consistently move the football without Wayne, whose loss is particularly challenging on third down. But the offense was surprisingly efficient at Tennessee, especially in the second half.
The Colts scored on six of nine possessions overall and four of five after intermission — excluding a three-play series to run out the clock in the game's final 1:54. Indianapolis had four scoring drives of 65 yards or more, and all four took at least 11 plays to complete.
Some of the credit goes to running back Donald Brown, who carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards and two scores — restoring balance to the offensive force. But much falls on Luck's shoulders.
The second-year quarterback completed passes to two players — wide receiver Griff Whalen and tight end Weslye Saunders — who weren't even on the active roster when Wayne was injured during an Oct. 20 win against Denver.
Indianapolis (7-3) is in good position as it prepares for Sunday's road game against the Arizona Cardinals (6-4). Wins in the next two weeks would clinch the team's first AFC South championship since 2010 and allow the Colts to spend the final four games of the season focusing on playoff seeding.
But Indianapolis knows it needs to continue getting production from all outposts of the locker room if it hopes to stay afloat without its best receiver.
"Everybody in this locker room knows we all have to contribute someway, somehow — whether you're the backup receiver, the tight end or the starter," Luck said. "Whatever it is, you're going to be asked to contribute at some point."