INDIANAPOLIS — Coach Chuck Pagano provided the inspiration, then Andrew Luck delivered a record-setting performance in yet another win for the surprising Indianapolis Colts.
After a 23-20 victory over Miami, the ailing coach offered even more encouragement.
Picked by many to be among the NFL’s weakest teams, the rebuilding Colts are now in the playoff conversation at 5-3.
‘‘I mentioned before the game that you guys were living in a vision, and you weren’t living in circumstances,’’ Pagano said Sunday, surrounded by his players and with interim coach Bruce Arians at his side after the Colts’ third straight win. ‘‘You know where they had us in the beginning, every last one of them. But you refused to live in circumstances and you decided consciously as a team and as a family to live in a vision, and that’s why you bring things home like what you bring home today.”
Luck wasn’t too concerned that he had just broken Cam Newton’s year-old record for yards passing in a game by a rookie (433), or even that his team had another victory. He just wanted to live up to the message from his coach, who has been receiving treatment for leukemia since being diagnosed on Sept. 26.
‘‘His presence is felt every day in the facility,’’ Luck said. ‘‘But to see him in the flesh, in the locker room, to hear him speak I think gave all the guys a boost.’’
The Colts have now won more than twice as many games in half a season as they did in 16 games last year.
Luck, who threw for two touchdowns, topped Newton’s mark of 432 and tied another by becoming the second rookie quarterback in league history to produce four 300-yard games in a season. The other: Peyton Manning, the quarterback he replaced.
Luck had it all working against the Dolphins (4-4). He completed 30 of 48 passes and the Colts converted 13 of 19 third-down chances.
Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill, who was limited in practice all week and considered questionable, was 22 of 38 for 290 yards with one TD.
The difference: Luck made more big plays.
‘‘The kid, he continues to amaze,’’ Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said after catching seven passes for 78 yards. ‘‘Hopefully I can help, you know, add on to his legacy that he’s about to build.’’
With the Colts trailing, 17-13, Luck hooked up with rookie T.Y. Hilton on a leaping 36-yard touchdown catch to make it 20-17 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.
Miami tied the score on Dan Carpenter’s 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and then Luck immediately led the Colts on a 13-play, 69-yard drive to set up Adam Vinatieri’s decisive 43-yard field goal with 5:58 to go.
Indianapolis’s defense stopped the Dolphins on their final two possessions.