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2016 Rewind: Andrew Luck’s touchdowns | Weeks 9-13

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It’s time to jump back in to looking at our franchise quarterback’s touchdowns from 2016. Now on to the third quarter of the season.

Indianapolis Colts v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Previous Editions: Weeks 1-4 | Weeks 5-8

Luck continued his fantastic season during Weeks 9-13 throwing 7 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions, accruing a 65.2 percent completion rate and putting up 273 yards per game through the air. The yards per game counts and completion percentage weren’t quite as impressive as his first two quarters of the season, but his touchdown percentage has continued to rise throughout the process.

Luck’s become increasingly deadly as the weeks have gone by starting with a 4.8 touchdown percentage in the first four weeks to 5.5 in the last quarter, and now up to 7.6 through these three games. On the other hand his interception percentage took a sharp increase beginning at 1.8 percent in the first four games, then he improved in Weeks 5-8 to 1.38 percent, but compiled a rate of 3.2 in these three.

Granted Luck only played in three games this quarter, and threw 92 passes, the stats are what they are. Without any further ado, let’s dive in and take a look.

Week 9 @ Green Bay Packers

Week 9 @ Packers
NFL Media

If you remember correctly, this game in Green Bay had the feeling that the Colts were in total control of it even though they were up just a touchdown at this point. This was part of a 15-play drive that spanned over five-and-a-half minutes to virtually end the first half.

Luck was cool as a cucumber throughout and this play was no different. First down from the 8 yard line and when you’re seeing at man-to-man coverage on Donte Moncrief, that’s naturally going to be Luck’s first look. It was designed for Moncrief, and Luck didn’t even bother to look anyone off. An excellent back shoulder throw, on time and away from the defender.

This is money, especially against Ladarius Gunter who struggled quite a bit last season and didn’t stand a chance against this throw. Luck put the perfect amount of zip on it and in the perfect location. Enough said.

Week 11 Vs Tennessee Titans | No 1

Week 11 Vs Titans, TD 1
NFL Media

I’ll say that this was one of the more interesting touchdowns of the year. Not because it was of the highlight reel material or anything, but because of how the play was executed. Luck has Doyle upright and tight to the line to his left, three receivers to his right and Turbin in the backfield with him. Not otherwise notable to this point, I know. But, look at how everything is lined up pre-snap.

Luck sees he’s got at least six defenders coming at him, none of them are less than a yard deep off the line of scrimmage and the secondary is in man coverage. You don’t see it, but Luck makes adjustments to keep Doyle in as a blocker and focuses solely on his matchups with his receivers.

Luck sees the void T.Y. Hilton will create with a corner route while running Moncrief underneath it. Though it still works, Moncrief gets held up in the course of his route. He’s virtually held the entire way through, but Luck puts the ball on Moncrief’s left thigh, away from the defender adding almost no risk to the pass.

Not to mention Luck was able to step up and away from the rush surrounding him, and had the ability to put enough on the pass to throw it accurately while falling away.

This was a very good sequence of events from Luck. Good pre-snap read, recognition of where the void in the defense would be, and excellent location on the pass to avoid risk on a second down attempt inside the five yard line. Oh, and great catch by Moncrief too almost solely with just his left arm pinning it against his body.

Week 11 Vs Tennessee Titans | No 2

Week 11 Vs Titans, TD 2
NFL Media

There are so many of Luck’s passes where we say “what a pass” or “how did he get that off” among many others. But, this is not one of those. This was very nearly one of those “what the heck are you doing” moments we’ve all grown to love from Luck time to time.

As far as pre-throw, Luck does everything right. He actually wants to go to Moncrief, but notices that he gets tripped up in the process of his route. Luck then transitions over to Hilton, but instead of stepping into the throw he hops as he throws taking a ton of power and accuracy away from it.

At Luck’s release point he had an entire third of the field to lead Hilton to the boundary, but underthrows it significantly and nearly has it picked off. Sometimes we see tipped balls get intercepted, or passes bounce off of receiver’s hands and into the defenders making it hard to blame the quarterback for the interception. This is ultimately the exact opposite of that.

This touchdown should be completely attributed to Hilton’s desire to steal the ball from the defender before he hit the ground. It still counts as six on the scoreboard, but it was a terrible pass when so much of what he did before the throw was perfect.

Week 13 @ NY Jets | No 1

Week 13 @ Jets, TD 1
NFL Media/ESPN

Excellent design, and excellent execution. Luck progressed through this play perfectly from start to finish. Doyle filtering out into the flat was Luck’s first look, and Luck immediately recognized he was covered well.

Next, Dwayne Allen runs a delayed route after helping initially as a blocker, releasing wide open to the backside of the play nobody accounting for him whatsoever.

To be fair, I think Allen was the intended target all along, but Luck sold the look to Doyle extremely well initially. The design to this play was impressively simple, but it completely baffled the Jets’ defense.

Doyle coming in motion completely stacked the right side of the formation, which helped sell his route, but then Hilton runs a crossing route which opens up Allen even further underneath and leaves him completely unattended all the way to the end zone.

Week 13 @ NY Jets | No 2

Week 13 @ Jets, TD 2
NFL Media/ESPN

Again, my apologies for not getting the all-22 aspect of this play. However, if you watch this a couple times you can still see what’s taking place here. First, Luck benefits from the entire group of linebackers biting hard on the play fake.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that much of a group gaffe with the offense in the shotgun, but this entire game was similarly disappointing for their defensive unit.

With Dorsett running his coverage deep into the end zone, he draws the attention of the single high safety as well. This creates a nice hole for Allen to sit into, again, with absolutely no attention being payed to him at all.

Luck does a great job of climbing the pocket to give himself additional time to make the throw with a little bit of pressure coming off the edge and it’s like taking candy from a baby at this juncture.

While most of this is due to the Jets’ defense being undisciplined on this play, Luck made them pay by not rushing anything and delivering a perfect pass on the move.

Week 13 @ NY Jets | No 3

Week 13 @ Jets, TD 3
NFL Media/ESPN

Here we see how the subtleties of eye discipline giving just the extra second needed to complete a touchdown pass. While Luck’s looking to Hilton and Moncrief initially seems unnecessary at first, it become obvious that just that half second of keeping the safety honest allows Allen an opportunity to beat only one defender to a 50/50 ball.

Doyle does a nice job of taking his route to the boundary to draw Miles away from Allen which also gives him the opportunity to only have to out jump one defender for the ball. Allen matched up against a linebacker was often a mismatch anyhow, but Luck does put the ball in the perfect spot to allow Allen the best chance at pulling it down.

More than anything, contrary to what most of us think, this pass shows that Luck trusted Allen to come up with a big catch when it was needed. Not needed because the game was on the line, but because Allen was having one of those days and it payed off with another touchdown.

There wasn’t a lot of unbelievable design to this play, it was simply executed perfectly and with only one safety over the top to manipulate it was easy for Luck to do his part from snap to throw.

Week 13 @ NY Jets | No 4

Week 13 @ Jets, TD 4
NFL Media/ESPN

This is more of the same when looking at Luck’s ability to dissect a defense, as well as the chemistry that he has with his receivers.

Luck didn’t need a ton of room to deliver this pass, he just needed enough time for the play to develop and for Moncrief to work well without the ball after Luck works past his first look. Luck initially looks to Hilton to see whether or not his coverage is going to carry him to the corner or possibly bite on Moncrief, or even just lag behind.

Hilton and jump balls aren’t the ultimate matchup and when the corner stays with Hilton after the defenders stay true to their assignments Luck has to look elsewhere. Moncrief settles down in the middle for a split second behind Darron Lee, but Lee loses contact and visual on Moncrief.

Moncrief, understanding the play progression, continues on finding a void between the linebackers and Luck, again, throws it in the perfect location. Down and away from the defender’s hands is better than up for Moncrief to use his height and leaping ability in this case.

For example, down and away limits how far the ball can fall if it bounces off of Moncrief’s hands or arms decreasing the possibility of a tipped ball interception. This was the nail in the coffin for the game and Luck, again, showed that his ability to work through progressions, his patience with protection and his near flawless footwork in the pocket is going to be a common theme for his success for years to come.