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Andrew Luck was dominant when throwing to receivers running double move routes in 2016

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The most encouraging part of a disapointing 2016 season for the Indianapolis Colts was the terrific bounce-back season that quarterback Andrew Luck enjoyed.

He returned from an injury-plagued 2015 campaign to set career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt in 2016, while establishing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in football.

Recently, Pro Football Focus took a deeper look at the NFL’s quarterbacks last season and broke down their effectiveness by route type, looking at the best quarterback while throwing each type of route. They found that Andrew Luck was easily the best in the league at throwing the double move route in 2016.

Luck was far and away the most successful quarterback targeting the double move. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 236 yards, 5 touchdowns and a QB rating of 142.8. Luck led the league in completions, touchdowns, and QB rating on double moves. He targeted six different receivers with double moves, most often using his tight ends Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle, who accounted for 3 of his 5 touchdown passes. Luck had his most success on this route when attacking zone coverages. He was 6-8 versus zone coverage, for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

What’s the double move route, you might ask? Here’s how PFF described it:

The double move is a deception route where the receiver tries to draw the defender up and then beat him over the top. These routes consist of the quick-out-and-up, the out-and-up, the slant-and-go, and the hitch-and-go. These are slower-developing routes that require the offensive line to give the QB enough time to throw the ball down the field. QBs typically throw these routes on a five- or seven-step drop back with an aDOT of 23.48 yards. Quarterbacks often have a good pump fake to help sell the route to help a receiver get open.

A lot of that should sound familiar to Colts fans - especially the longer-developing routes that involve five or seven step dropbacks, things that can give the impression that a quarterback holds the ball too long. Instead, though, that was just a staple part of the Colts’ offense. One of the many route types the Colts used were double moves, which relies on the quarterback and receiver selling the defensive back on a fake and then burning him over the top for a big gain. Luck was terrific when throwing this route last year, especially when targeting the tight ends.

Of course, it wasn’t just this one route that Luck was good at, as he had a great all-around year: he completed 346 of 545 passes (63.5%) for 4,240 yards (7.78 yards per attempt), 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 96.4. But there was no better route for Luck than the double move route in 2016, which though only attempted 17 times, proved to be immensely successful.