A year after a disastrous, injury-plagued campaign, Andrew Luck returned to form in 2016 as he was as good as ever.
In Pro Football Focus’ rankings of the best players in the NFL for this past season, Luck finished 33rd overall. Here’s what PFF had to say:
This was the best season of Andrew Luck’s career from a personal performance standpoint, and the closest he has ever been to actually justifying the lofty potential that was always thrown around when discussing him as a player. Luck eliminated many of the unforced errors that have always been a big part of his game, and his completion percentage jumped up to 63.5 percent on the year — more than two percent higher than any other season of his career. Luck had a very real Comeback Player of the Year case for his display this year.
Luck was fourth among quarterbacks, behind only Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan - that’s not bad company whatsoever, considering those three guys seemed to be the MVP frontrunners as the season wound down. Luck was absolutely tremendous in 2016, as despite the Colts’ dismal success Luck had plenty of it. He completed 63.5% of his passes for 4,240 yards (7.78 yards per attempt), 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 96.4, setting new career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt. He also added 341 yards and two touchdowns rushing, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Luck was absolutely terrific in 2016, and it was a great bounce-back year for him.
He wasn’t the only Colts player to impress in 2016, however, as wide receiver T.Y. Hilton actually led the NFL in receiving yards. He checked in at number 54 on PFF’s list:
With the incredible seasons from Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, it’s easy to forget that it was T.Y. Hilton that led the league in receiving yards, with 1,448 over the regular season from his 91 receptions. Hilton was incredibly productive as Andrew Luck’s top target, catching 63.6 percent of balls thrown his way.
PFF also added a very interesting stat for Hilton, as he ranked third in the NFL with 2.35 yards gained per route. It was a career year for Hilton, as he caught 91 passes for 1,448 yards and six touchdowns, setting career highs in receptions and yards. He was by far Andrew Luck’s top and best target on the season, and he had six 100-yard games. Hilton was the fifth-ranked wide receiver on PFF’s list, coming in behind Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham Jr.
Luck and Hilton were the only two Colts players to make PFF’s list of the top 101 players in the NFL in 2016, and I don’t think anyone would argue that they’re easily the best players the Colts have (you could throw in special teamers Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri in that group for the 2016 season too). So while new GM Chris Ballard faces a significant challenge in rebuilding this Colts team, the reality is that he already has a few tremendous pieces in place. Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton were better than ever in 2016, and that’s an encouraging sign moving forward. Now it’s time for the Colts to improve the supporting cast around them.