This Sunday night will feature a matchup between two of the NFL's best quarterbacks on a national stage as the Colts and Andrew Luck take on the Patriots and Tom Brady. Luck leads the NFL in passing yards and is second in passing touchdowns while Brady is ninth in yards and fifth in touchdowns. It's a matchup between one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game's history and the third-year quarterback who's emerging as one of the NFL's top signal-callers.
Of course, we all know that it's not really a matchup of Luck and Brady, because obviously they're not playing defense against each other. When one of them emerges victorious on Sunday night it won't be a victory over "said QB" but rather "said team" or "said team and said QB (who is the leader of that team)." But the quarterback duel highlights the Sunday Night Football matchup, and rightfully so.
On Wednesday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, had high praise for Andrew Luck. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Brady said that, "he's a great player, in his third year, and he's had a lot of success. Their offense is doing a great job this year; they score a lot of points, especially at home. He's kind of the ringleader. He does a lot of things I wish I could do.
"He's big, fast, shrugs off blockers, Brady continued, highlighting some of the areas where Luck excels. "He makes a lot of extended plays. He's a great passer. I think they've thrown for more yards at this point in the year than any other team in history. It speaks to what they're doing offensively, and it's a great challenge for our defense. We're going to have to score a lot. When you play another great offense, you're going to have to put up a lot of points, similar to our last game [against the Broncos]. We realize we have a big job, too. My focus is on the other side of the ball, but you also know you're not going to be able to score 13 points and win the game."
When you have a quarterback who has thrown for 51,541 yards and 381 touchdowns in a career that includes two NFL MVP awards, nine Pro Bowls, and three Super Bowl rings saying that he wishes he could do some of the things that a third-year Andrew Luck is doing, that's pretty high praise.
Obviously, Andrew Luck still has a long, long way to go to rival Brady's career resume, but this season Luck has been in the discussion with Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and a handful of others as not just the league's best quarterbacks but legitimate MVP candidates. Luck is completing 63.6% of his passes for 3,085 yards and 26 touchdowns against 9 interceptions, and he also has added 129 yards and 2 scores rushing. He's just the fourth player in history to throw for 3,000 yards in his team's first nine games, has seven consecutive 300+ yard passing games (and has topped the mark in eight of nine games this year), he's just the third quarterback in history to throw 40+ attempts in six consecutive games, became the first player in NFL history to throw for 350+ yards in five straight road games, and is on pace for the most passing yards in a season in history and the fifth most touchdowns in a season ever. Or, in other words - he's been really good.
While some in the media or some fans tend to miss that at times, other players throughout the league often don't. That's true of Tom Brady - who himself has been really good - and Brady had very high praise for Andrew Luck on Wednesday.