CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 09: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws an incomplete pass as he is pressured by Matt Toeaina #75 of the Chicago Bears and Brian Urlacher #54 on September 9, 2012 during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Yes, I was that guy who said earlier this week that the Bears were on upset alert.
Well, look how that turned out.
The Colts traveled to Chicago for their season opener and got beaten handily by a good Bears team, 41-21.
Andrew Luck made his mistakes (he turned the ball over four times), but he didn't get much help either. It seemed like the Colts were almost always in third down and long. Donald Brown dropped two incredibly easy passes. The Colts really didn't run enough to establish a running game. And the offensive line was awful today.
Luck, who completed 23 of his 45 passes, threw for 309 yards and a score in his NFL debut, along with 3 interceptions. Luck struggled mightily throwing the deep ball, but in mid and short range passes he wasn't particularly bad. He made his mistakes, but that is to be expected from a rookie. And this rookie is being asked to do a lot. And he's being asked to do it under constant pressure.
It seemed like Luck was almost always on the run or having to step up to avoid pressure. His mobility and movement in the pocket are perhaps his greatest strength, but I would rather him not have to do that every play.
The offensive line is an issue. A big one. It didn't help that Seth Olsen was starting for the injured Joe Reitz at left guard and that Winston Justiceleft the game early with an injury. Olsen is a terrible option at left guard who shouldn't even be on the team. Jeff Linkenbach at right tackle isn't much better (he filled in for Justice).
There were some monumental moments for Luck today, however, that will likely be remembered years from now.
Andrew Luck's first interception:He underthrew Donnie Avery deep along the right sideline. It was intercepted by Tim Jennings, who returned it for 17 yards. Avery could have made a better effort on the play to break it up, but it was all on Luck.
Andrew Luck's first touchdown: He threw a slant short to the left to Donnie Avery for four yards. It was the first of many, many more touchdowns to come. That was a pass that, even though it came in garbage time (it came early in the fourth quarter), will be remembered for a long time as Luck's first scoring toss.
Andrew Luck's first 300 yard game: Ok, this one covers the whole game, but it is a milestone. The pass that put him over 300 came on 4th and 15 from his own 38 yard line. He threw a nice pass to (who else?) Donnie Avery which went for 26 yards. That put him over 300 yards for the first time in his very short NFL career thus far, and it will be the first of many more to come.
So yes, Andrew Luck struggled some today. But I'm not concerned about the rookie. Some may have had much higher expectations of Luck than are realistic - including myself. But this kid will be fine. He showed promise today as well. The Colts today played one of the best teams they will all season. Next week they host the Minnesota Vikings (1-0) followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) before going into their bye week. They could realistically be 2-1 going into their bye week. It won't be easy, but the season isn't over yet. This was just one game.
The Colts have numerous issues to fix, but the quarterback position isn't one of them. Did Luck have a bit of a rough day? Absolutely. But he will be fine. And that is one prediction that, unlike the upset alert one, I guarantee will be right.