Now that the season is over (for the Colts at least) it’s time to begin analyzing, and over analyzing, just about everything Colts related.
This series of articles is an idea I grabbed from our friends over at Wide Right, Natty Lite, where they’ll talk about all things Iowa State. Since I’m not going to devote an article to each individual player, I’m breaking it down by position. First up: Quarterback.
As a team, the passing attack was very strong. In total, the Colts combined for 370 completions on 584 attempts (about 63%) with 4,491 yards, 32 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Not bad.
I was going to leave out last year’s quarterback train wreck, but then I thought I would include it. It should come as no surprise that the Colts’ numbers this year were way, way better. About 500 more yards, seven more touchdowns, and four less interceptions. Oh, and total completion percentage was up almost 7 percent.
In fact, this year, the Colts (as a team) had their best passing percentage ever in the Andrew Luck era, the second fewest interceptions, the second most yards, and the second most touchdowns.
And in case you were wondering, this season also saw four Colts throw the ball. Who are those four you ask? Luck and Scott Tolzien (obviously), but both Pat McAfee and Antonio Morrison threw passes as well.
McAfee’s pass was the fake punt against the Steelers on Thanksgiving. And Morrison’s was off of the blocked punt in the Jacksonville game this past Sunday.
Let’s dive in a little further to look at Luck. I would argue that this 2016 campaign was Luck’s finest as a pro.
Luck completed 63.5% of his passes (a career high) for 4,240 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. This was in 15 games, mind you. That all equates to a passer rating of 96.4, missing his career high by .1.
Otherwise, most of Luck’s statistics were his second best. Touchdowns thrown were his second highest (behind 2014), interceptions second lowest (2013), and yards were third highest (behind 2014 and 2012).
This year, we didn’t see Luck run quite as much, something I’m sure Colts fans aren’t too sad about after last season.
Still, Luck was efficient running the ball, running 64 times for 341 yards (5.3 per carry) and 2 touchdowns. These numbers put the quarterback second on the team in rushing yards. Surprisingly, in terms of yardage, this was Luck’s second highest total ever in a season (behind 2013).
It’s also worth mentioning that this was also Luck’s third most efficient (in yards per carry) rushing season behind, again, 2013, and (surprisingly) the 2015 campaign.
And this was all in a season where Luck tied his career high in times sacked, with 41. Luck was also sacked 41 times in his rookie season.
But how did Luck stack up against the rest of the league?
In passing percentage, Luck was right in the middle of the NFL, ranking 16th in percentage. Surprisingly, right behind Derek Carr. And in case you were wondering, Sam Bradford led the league in completion percentage, followed by Drew Brees.
In yards, Luck finished in the top 10, with the 8th most passing yards. It should come as no surprise that Brees led the league in yards, again eclipsing the 5,000 yard mark.
As we go down the line, Luck keeps moving up in the rankings. In yards per attempt, Luck comes in 5th with 7.78. Matt Ryan led the league with an absurd 9.26 yards per attempt.
As we head over to touchdowns, Luck stays put at fifth with his 31 scores. In fact, Luck was one of five QBs to throw for over 30 touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers led the league with 40.
In interceptions, Luck is tied for 13th (with his 13 interceptions) with Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Here’s where I found the biggest surprise. Sacks. Luck was tied for second in the league in times sacked. Both Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson were also sacked 41 times on the season. But those three QBs lag behind Tyrod Taylor who was dropped 42 times.
And finally that brings us to passer rating. Luck comes in 9th overall in QB rating with his 96.4. Comfortably ahead of the 10th best QB (Marcus Mariota) and just behind Carr. It should come as no surprise that Matt Ryan led the league, and did so with a ridiculous 117.1 rating.
Safe to say, Luck has easily established himself as a top tier QB. Probably fringe top-5, depending on who you ask, and for sure top-10. I didn’t cross check defensive rankings with the top QBs, but I would bet Luck would have one of the worse defenses out of the group.
Overall, Luck’s finest performance came on Monday Night against the Jets. He was 22 of 28 for 278 yards and four touchdowns. In that game, Luck came away with a 147.6 QB rating, as he was nearly perfect in the game.
I feel like any time you would need to devote time writing about two quarterbacks, you might have had a problem during the season. Fortunately for the Colts, Luck only missed one game due to a concussion.
This meant it was time for Scott Tolzien to see his first game action since playing in relief of Aaron Rodgers in 2013.
Most Colts fans weren’t sure about Tolzien, as he had been less than impressive in Green Bay, and didn’t look great in pre-season with the Colts either.
While Tolzien’s numbers against the Steelers (205 yards, a score, and two interceptions) weren’t great; that didn’t reflect the game as a whole. Tolzien moved the Colts offense effectively, but was at times let down by his supporting cast.
Again, while not great, I think Tolzien’s performance eased the mind of many Colts fans that if Andrew Luck were to miss a game or two, the team is at least in capable hands with Tolzien.
Not great hands. Just capable.