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Luck to Hilton Downfield Connection Has Been among League’s Best in Modern Era

Who else can’t wait to see Luck slinging it to The Ghost again?

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Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

According to Pro Football Focus, Andrew Luck throwing to T.Y. Hilton has manifested into the fourth-highest passer rating on connections of at least 20 yards in PFF’s 12-year history. The duo only trails Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks, Philip Rivers/Antonio Gates formerly of the Los Angeles Chargers and Kurt Warner/Larry Fitzgerald formerly of the Arizona Cardinals.

Obviously, the Luck-to-Hilton combo has been shelved since the end of the 2016 season, but from 2012-’15 the body of work is undeniable. The duo has hooked up on 84 plays of at least 20 yards. Overall, they’ve connected on 334-of-575 targets (58.1%) for 5,234 yards, 28 touchdowns and 226 first downs.

Luck and Hilton have never finished worse than 15th in the NFL in 20-plus-yard plays. The one year that they did rank 15th was 2015 when Luck missed nine games. In 2016, they were first (28) and Hilton led the entire league in receiving yards (1,448). Overall, they average ranking 8.8th in the league.

Luck has missed 26 games in the pair’s time together (all in the last three seasons), so all of those numbers would be even higher otherwise.

Luck is expected back in 2018. Although he missed an entire season rehabbing his shoulder, if he returns this year then it should be as strong or stronger than ever. He has been on a strict rehab regimen from throwing specialists Tom House and Adam Dedeaux which has focused on rebuilding the strength and mechanics in his arm. If we see Luck back to his old self in 2018 then he and Hilton’s downfield numbers should continue to blow up.

This video highlight (which does not belong to Stampede Blue) does a nice job of showing examples why Luck-to-Hilton has been so deadly (song on video is NSFW).