On his first completion of the game on Sunday against the Jaguars, Andrew Luck racked up 11 yards on a pass to T.Y. Hilton. More significantly, it moved him past Cam Newton for the most passing yards through a player's first two years in NFL history. Luck finished the day with 271 more passing yards after that attempt, bringing his season total to 3,822 yards on the year and 8,196 in his two year career.
It was quite a performance to cap Luck's sophomore regular season, and while statistically it doesn't rank as his best game, it looked like it while watching the game. Luck was on target on almost every pass and the passing attack was working as well as it has all season.
Offensive coordinator put the ball in Luck's hands and he certainly hasn't disappointed. His offense has controlled the ball and have taken care of the football - Luck first and foremost. And the offense is looking very dangerous entering the playoffs. Other members of the team have been very impressed with Luck as well this year:
Head coach Chuck Pagano:
Regardless if you have a drop or a bad play or a missed assignment or whatever it is, Andrew's not one of those guys that's just going to, if you drop a ball and you're on this side of the field, look to the left side. He will go right back to you. And that's the great thing about Andrew and the rest of those guys. He's got amnesia and he understands that it's football and the guys that are covering those guys get paid to make plays. And so there's a combination of things that go into throwing and catching and all those things. So I think it's great that he's got the confidence in those guys to go right back to them and keep them involved."
Running back Donald Brown
"He's definitely stepped up his game, both as a player and a leader. He's a tremendous leader on and off the field, setting a great example for some of the younger guys. I think everybody stepped up their game. When a Hall-of-Fame wide receiver like Reggie Wayne goes down, it's hard to fill that void but you do everything you can to step up and try to fill the void."
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis:
"He knows how to approach the game and how to manage the game and how win games. He's the guy, his shoulders have definitely gotten a lot more broader and being able to support the team. And he's been very clutch for us this year."
Kicker Adam Vinatieri:
"I was very, very impressed with him the first day he stepped onto the field back in OTAs a year and a half ago, two years ago. To watch him mature over the last years has been great. His leadership has always been there. I think as a rookie, it's a rare quality to have the leadership qualities that he has. But he took over the team and led. Obviously he's got all the physical attributes. He can run and he can throw. He can process and he's a smart guy and all that stuff. But I think he is just getting even more comfortable with his role. The thing that is fun is he doesn't make those quote unquote rookie or first or second-year mistakes. He knows if it's not there, throw it away and let's do this. I guess what I'm saying is he manages the game very well and gives us an opportunity to win games."
Andrew Luck has won over his teammates and has been incredibly impressive this season - and behind a quarterback playing at a very high level, the Colts offense looks really good heading into the playoffs.
General: 26/37 (70.27%), 282 yards (7.62 yards per attempt), 1 TD, 0 INT, 101.4 passer rating, 77.2 QBR, 1 sack, 2 rush attempts for 7 yards and 0 touchdowns (3.5 yards per carry)
Number of Drives: 9 (only including those with Andrew Luck in the game)
Number of Plays: 61 (only including those with Andrew Luck in the game)
Number of Passing Plays: 39 (63.93% of plays with Luck in the game)
Shotgun Snaps (pass plays): 31 (79.49% of pass plays with Luck in the game)
Play Action Attempts: 3 (7.69% of pass plays with Luck in the game)
Drops: 3 (7.69% of pass plays with Luck in the game)
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.
- Andrew Luck protected the football really well this season, only throwing 9 interceptions all season despite throwing the ball 570 times (throwing a pick on a tremendously low 1.58% of his pass attempts). In his 13 seasons as the Colts' quarterback (and his two as the Broncos quarterback), Peyton Manning never threw fewer than 9 picks in a season and only once did he equal the total.
- Luck raised his completion percentage by 6.1% this year, and that area was what most considered to be the one he needed to work on the most coming into this season - even though it really wasn't that bad last year all things considered. This year, in a different offense, Luck completed a very respectable 60.2% of his passes. He finished the year by completing over 70% of his passes in two straight games.
- If you go back five games to the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium and take away the Colts' first offensive drive (where Luck threw an interception), Luck is on a phenomenal streak. In his last 182 passes of the regular season, Luck threw just one pick (0.5% of his passes) with 8 touchdowns and 1,229 yards while also completing 64.29% of his passes. During that same stretch, he has rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries (averaging 5.85 yards per attempt). That's a very, very impressive stretch to close out the regular season.
- On a pass in the first quarter (3:38 left) that went for 31 yards to T.Y. Hilton, Luck threw it in perfectly right where it needed to be. The defender was right by Hilton but Luck snuck it in just past him and just behind him and right into Hilton's hands. It was a beautiful throw.
- The Colts receivers dropped three passes on Sunday, and if those had been caught and then the player immediately tackled (so not factoring any yards after the catch), it would have been 50 yards and a touchdown (granted, two drops were on one drive so one drop would have made the other one not exist). Additionally, T.Y. Hilton gave up on a deep route after he thought Luck was sacked, but instead the quarterback launched it deep for Hilton and it was incomplete. Hilton had a step on the defender and it probably would have been completed had he not stopped running, and it might have gone for a 78-yard score. Again, that's not a guarantee, but still - Hilton has to keep running there and not give up.
- On third down on Sunday, Luck completed 7 of 9 attempts (77.78%) for 98 yards and got a first down on 6 of his 9 pass attempts. He also ran the ball twice on third down, picking up 7 yards total and converting one of the two opportunities (on a quarterback sneak on 3rd and 1 where Luck got 3 yards on a second effort). He also drew two penalties on third down (neutral zone infraction and encroachment), one of which gave the Colts a first down.
What Others Are Saying (or said during the game):
They've lost 7 offensive starters to injuries and they just keep rolling. Imagine Andrew Luck when he has legit support.— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) December 29, 2013
"That means Luck has been steadily getting better despite throwing to targets who, in some cases, weren't even expected to be on the roster. While New England's Tom Brady gets loads of credit for making something out of nothing because of the weaknesses in this receiving corps, there's a strong argument to be made that Luck's done the very same thing."