For the first time in almost 300 days, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck took the playing field on Saturday as he saw some preseason action against the Baltimore Ravens.
Overall it was a very impressive debut for Luck, who completed all eight of his pass attempts for 69 yards, also rushing twice for 12 yards. Though the Colts managed just three points on his two drives (thanks to one drive stalling in the red zone and a red zone fumble by Dwayne Allen on the other), the quarterback looked good throughout.
“With him, nothing really surprises any of us,” head coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. “I wasn’t shocked because of the time he has put in. Since he came back, through the OTAs and what he did on the break and then from the start of training camp, he has just been outstanding. He has been a different guy. Different from a leadership standpoint. Different from how he carries himself day in and day out throughout the building. In practice, he is very demanding of himself and he is making everybody around him better. It was obviously great to see it and I am not surprised by anything that he does. The greatest thing was he took off and he got his ass on the ground when he was supposed to get on the ground.”
Pagano was, of course, referring to Luck’s slides with that last remark, as on both of his runs Luck slid to give himself up at the end of them instead of fighting for extra yards. Luck downplayed the sliding (just like he’s done all offseason), however, saying that it’s just part of the game.
“I’ve slid in the past so I don’t want to make it a bigger deal than it is,” Luck said while also acknowledging that he’s been practicing it. “But yeah, [it’s] part of the game and part of being a quarterback.”
Luck’s focus wasn’t on sliding; it was instead on how good it felt to get back on the field again.
“It felt like a long time [since I’ve last played],” Luck said. “It’s good to be out there. It was fun. It was a lot of fun.”
Perhaps most importantly, it gave Luck more confidence - something he needed.
“Yeah I did. I needed to get out there,” Luck agreed. “It’s like breathing, you just need more of it. It’s like oxygen. We did some really good things too. All groups, all three groups and all three phases. We also did some stupid stuff. Some penalties that really hurt drives. A turnover on the last drive that a couple of us were in that we can’t do and we’ve seen that movie before and it’s not a good movie.”
Luck specifically mentioned that he wanted to finish in the redzone better than the Colts did, but the blame can’t really be placed on him for the shortcomings in this instance. He did everything he could, taking the throws the defense was giving him and marching the offense quickly down the field on both of his drives.
All in all, it was a very good debut for the Colts’ franchise quarterback, one that was very much needed - even if it was just two drives in a preseason game.