For pretty much his entire NFL career, Andrew Luck has been under pressure. But you could make a good case that on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, he was under more pressure than he has been in a game yet.
According to Pro Football Focus, Luck was pressured on 16 dropbacks, and all five of the starters along the offensive line finished with a grade of -2.0 or lower. Luck was also sacked five times. So while I could point to Luck's completion percentage being just above 50 percent (at 53.13%) or the fact that he only passed for 200 yards or his touchdown to interception ratio being minus one or his sub-par passer rating and QBR - but I'm choosing to focus more instead on what Luck did accomplish behind a terrible offensive line.
He wasn't great as a passer on Sunday, that's for sure. But at the same time, he made plays, and many of them without much help from his teammates (besides for the aforementioned offensive line struggles, starting wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey posted a -3.3 grade according to PFF and caught as many passes as he dropped - with the drop being as bad as it could possibly be). And, perhaps most impressively, Luck got it done on the ground.
If you take away two kneel downs to end the game, Andrew Luck ran the ball 3 times for 44 yards, including a 24 yard rush on 3rd and 2. Luck made plays on the ground and he made enough plays through the air. He needs to get better and the Colts need to finish drives instead of just settling for field goals. But while I won't ignore Luck's struggles (like overthrowing open receivers and misfiring on some others), I will say that on Sunday he didn't get any help from his team and, when the passing game wasn't at it's best, Luck made plays on the ground, continuing to show just how dangerous he is. Even on a day where he wasn't on the top of his game through the air and on a day where his offense didn't help him out one bit, Andrew Luck found ways to get it done, including on the ground.
Luck continues to impress, and at the same time he continues to show a lot of room for improvement. And that should scare the rest of the league - that this already impressive kid has a lot more room to grow and improve.
General: 17/32 (53.13%), 200 yards (6.3 yards per attempt), 0 TD, 1 INT, 59.4 passer rating, 37.1 QBR, 5 sacks, 3 rush attempts for 44 yards and 0 touchdowns (14.67 yards per carry) (not including two kneel downs to end the game)
Number of Drives: 12 (not including a drive that consisted of just two kneel downs)
Number of Plays: 60 (not including two kneel downs)
Number of Passing Plays: 40 (66.67%)
Shotgun Snaps (pass plays): 26 (65.0% of pass plays)
Play Action Attempts: 12 (30.0% of pass plays)
Drops: 2 (5.0% of pass plays)
Passes Charted by Field Position:
Number stands for the number of the player who caught the pass. X stands for an incomplete pass (number in parenthesis was intended receiver). Blue number stands for a touchdown. Red X stands for an interception. Green X stands for a drop. Red headings along upper and lefthand side indicate how the areas of the field are broken down
* IMPORTANT NOTE: All of these statistics are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate whatsoever and some of them (number of plays pressured) are subjective. While I strive to be entirely accurate and correct, these numbers are prone to inerrancies occasionally. Either way, they will give you a very good idea of the point being made.
- Remember what I said about Andrew Luck overthrowing some passes? Yeah, well that continues to be a problem for him. It has been a problem for pretty much this whole season, and even going back to last season a bit too. Is this because he is getting rattled by the pressure a bit and is trying to overcompensate with his passes? Maybe. I'm not really sure what it is that is causing Luck to overthrow some receivers (that would be a good topic for an All-22 article... maybe I'll do that). But the fact of the matter is that every game Luck has a couple of passes that are overthrown. He had quite a few in Sunday's game, too, and two of the most obvious examples are shown below. On the first, Luck overthrew a wide open Stanley Havili on a wheel route on a 3rd and 1 play from the Titans 36 yard line. That absolutely cannot happen. The second is in the fourth quarter when Luck overthrew LaVon Brazill and threw the pass right to Titans safety George Wilson, who dropped the sure-pick.
- Just because it was so bad, Darrius Heyward-Bey actually dropped this. Yeah, I know. Just terrible.
- The 3rd and 2 play in the fourth quarter that resulted in Andrew Luck's 24-yard rush was a thing of beauty. Luck faked the handoff and then immediately rolled out to the right. Stanley Havili also was running to the right, a few yards ahead of Luck. It looked like it might have been designed to be a short pass to Havili on the out as Luck rolled right. Instead, however, Luck tucked the ball and ran, easily getting the first down. He didn't stop then, however, and at one point even cut back inside to get more yards. The thing I loved was rolling Andrew Luck out. I have been saying for a while that they need to roll him out more, especially with such a terrible offensive line. The fact that rolling Luck out resulted in such a successful play should stand out and should cause the Colts to consider doing that more. Doing so will be a move that greatly helps Luck, the offensive line, and the offense. I was glad to see them do it in this situation, and it worked out very well.
What Others Are Saying (or said during the game):
(from a few days before the game, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy's thoughts on Luck)
Can Andrew Luck just be running back and quarterback for the Colts?— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) December 1, 2013
We all talk about how much RGIII gets hit. But holy cow, Andrew Luck is being whacked over and over. O-line issues hurting them.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 1, 2013
Colts better figure something out with their protection schemes, or that brutal OL is gonna get Andrew Luck hurt. Titans are whipping them— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 1, 2013
"You have to wonder if there will ever be a time when quarterback Andrew Luck won't be able to pull himself up off the ground with all the hits and sacks continuing to pile up on the Indianapolis Colts' franchise player.
"Not even a lineup change on the offensive line could protect Luck against the Tennessee Titans."
"The Colts need to quit talking about running it and turn everything over to Andrew Luck. They are division champs, but they sure don't look like it."