The Indianapolis Colts are preparing to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game this Sunday, and the Patriots have one of the best coaches in the history of the game in Bill Belichick - and with Belichick on the sideline the Colts know they'll have a tough task in facing the Patriots. But Belichick and the Patriots also know what a tough challenge they face in the Colts, and in particular, quarterback Andrew Luck.
"He's got a lot of strengths, no weaknesses," Belichick said Wednesday, per ESPN Boston's Lee Schechter . "He's got a great future in front of him. He's already done a lot in the time that he's been in the league and I'm sure by the time he gets done he can pass a lot of guys by."
"Luck's hard to bring down," Belichick added. "He runs very well. He's athletic, he can get outside and make yards with his legs. They also use him on some keep-type plays, you know, the one he scored on for example in the Denver game last week."
"He's strong, he's strong in the pocket, he's got good lower-body strength," Belichick continued. "He's got strong legs. Hard to wrap up a lot of times, he's got guys draped all over him and he can throw the ball."
On Tuesday, Belichick talked about how Andrew Luck was "like a sixth receiver you have to cover" because of how much he moves around and how elusive he is in the pocket.
Of course, this is likely a great deal of "coach speak" from the same Bill Belichick who was effusive in his praise of Colts' safety LaRon Landry during his press conference today as well. Just like always, things coaches say in the week leading up to a game should be taken with a grain of salt. But, at the same time, when a guy like Belichick says this kind of things about Andrew Luck, it'd be stupid not to listen at least a little bit.
In the regular season, Luck completed 61.7% of his passes for 4,761 yards (a franchise record) and 40 touchdowns (most in the NFL), along with 273 yards and three touchdowns rushing. In two playoff games, Luck has elevated his game, completing 66.7% of his passes for 641 yards and three touchdowns, along with 39 yards rushing (9.8 yards per carry).
In three games against the Patriots, however, Luck has completed just 53.8% of his passes for 968 yards and six touchdowns against eight picks and has rushed for 24 yards on five carries. He has thrown for more than 300 yards in all three games against the Patriots, but the Colts haven't been able to beat them, falling to 0-3 earlier this season in the Andrew Luck Era when facing New England. Both the Colts and the Patriots, as Bill Belichick expressed today, however, realize that for the Colts to break that recent string of defeats against the Patriots Luck will have to play well. The good news? "He's a great quarterback," as Bill Belichick noted earlier.