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Grading Andrew Luck’s First Game Back

Indianapolis Colts v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Luck’s Passing Attempts

Luck’s 1st Passing Attempt — Short Completion to Marlon Mack for 17 Yards

For those who missed his pass, there it is! This is a designed play from the very beginning and it’s a good short pass that gives Luck some confidence and the offense some easy yards. Mack does a great job with the ball after the catch.

This is a great play call from the coaching staff, giving him an easy completion to start the game that only helps his confidence.

Luck’s 2nd Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass (Short Right) to TY Hilton

Luck does a good job selling the play action and you can tell by the way the defense (especially #91) reacts to it. He does a good job getting depth on the rollout, which buys him more time to make a read down the field. Unfortunately, Luck stares down his target, TY Hilton and tries to thread the needle into a window that wasn’t there. No harm no foul as the defender couldn’t make a play on the ball and the old adage is “only put the ball in a spot where the receiver can get it”.

Luck’s 3rd Passing Attempt — 1st Down Completion to TY Hilton

Luck takes a nice drop here and is patient with the throw, but he seriously needs to be careful with his eyes on the play. Luck is obviously rusty so his ability to manipulate defenders with eyes isn’t there yet. Nevertheless, he puts a lot of zip on this pass and places it very well.

Luck’s 4th Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass (Short Left) to TY Hilton

If you look at Luck’s footwork, he’s engaged in a “catch and shoot” type of pass. A catch and shoot pass means that Luck needs to get rid of the ball quickly and preferably on his first or second read. He needs to get rid of it quickly because he’s not taking a drop to get away from the offensive line.

He does a much better job scanning the field, but makes the wrong read forcing the ball to a well covered Hilton towards the sideline. A better cornerback in better position could take a pass like that to the house.

Luck’s 5th Passing Attempt — Short Completion to Chester Rogers for 10 Yards

This is a very good play from Luck. He takes the easy dump pass that goes for 10 yards. His mechanics aren’t perfect in a muddy pocket, but it’s such an easy throw that it doesn’t really matter. He took what he was given, which is always the smart play.

Luck’s 6th Passing Attempt — Short 1st Down Completion to Robert Turbin for 14 Yards

Any person can make this easy read — great play call from the coaching staff and a great job by Turbin. You can see a trend with the passes the coaching staff called in this game.

Luck’s 7th Passing Attempt — Short Completion to Marlon Mack for 6 Yards

Another easy pass from Luck and a good call from the coaching staff on first down.

Luck’s 8th Passing Attempt — Completion to Jack Doyle for 9 Yards

For those interested in the mechanics of a quarterback, Luck performs a very nice 7-step drop with a hitch. This is a long-developing pass play that involves multiple reads, so the 7-step drop is intended to give Luck time to make the read and get as far away from the offensive line as he can! He goes through a few reads here and makes the right one in Doyle. Easily his best throw of the game.

Luck’s 9th Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass (Short Right) to TY Hilton

If his last throw was his best, this was probably his worst. This was definitely a pre-determined read as he immediately looked to Hilton’s side. He definitely relied heavily on Hilton tonight. Doyle was wide open on the drag and probably would’ve gotten the first down. Luck needs to make sure he’s reading and scanning the field properly pre and post snap.

Luck’s Only Rushing Attempt — 1 Yard Gain

No thoughts on this, but I think every Colts fan held their breath for a few seconds!

Luck’s Final Numbers — 6/9, 64 Yards with 1 Rush for 1 Yard

Luck’s Mechanics

Upper Body

His throwing motion looks the same and he has the same amount of zip on his passes. His lead shoulder was a bit misaligned on his throws and it affected his accuracy a bit. His looked a bit stiff on a couple of throws early on, but I doubt that had anything to do with his shoulder injury. If we’re being picky, it definitely wasn’t perfect in terms of his upper body mechanics, but it was acceptable.

Lower Body

Footwork looked fantastic! The 7-step drop was a thing of beauty and I found his lower body was properly aligned for the most part. His drops were crisp and I thought he moved well in the pocket.

Overall Grade

Overall, Luck had a nice game and the coaching staff called a great game (in general, but with Luck especially). They gave Luck a lot of easy passes that boosted his confidence and got him into a flow. They mixed in a few play action plays and some rollouts. He got a nice taste of NFL football! It feels like I’m talking about a rookie!

He looked very calm and relaxed on the field. He was making his usual pre-snap reads, which some quarterbacks don’t even bother doing in preseason games (which is a big mistake) and he didn’t look like a guy returning from a 585 day absence.

Overall, I’d give him a very good grade, but there’s some areas that need some refinement.

I’d give him a B+.