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Grading Andrew Luck vs the Baltimore Ravens

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Baltimore Ravens v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Andrew Luck’s second game did not go as smoothly as his first, but every rep he takes is a step in the right direction. Below are breakdowns on each of Luck’s 13 official pass attempts. A video link to all his throws is embedded below.


1st Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass to Chester Rogers (Short)

The first throw to Rogers wasn’t terrible, but it probably wasn’t the right decision. During Luck’s five step-drop, he stares down Rogers the entire way and tries to force it into a tight window. The throw is slightly off the mark and Rogers isn’t able to adjust properly. Had Luck taken his time (he had a nice pocket to work with), he would’ve realized that Jack Doyle was the much safer, smarter throw to make.

2nd Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass to Chester Rogers (Short)

This was a fantastic call by the defense. The Ravens effectively blitzed Luck by stunting the weak-side 3 technique defensive tackle and the running back wasn’t able to recognize the stunt and make the block. When Luck attempts to step up in the pocket, he realizes that the unblocked defender is barreling down the middle. Luck makes the wrong decision by forcing a throw off his back foot. Tough to blame Luck, so this play should be chalked up to a great defensive play call by the Ravens.

3rd Passing Attempt — Pass Intercepted - Intended for Jack Doyle

This entire play is ugly from start to finish. Luck initially cheats his drop by not crossing over properly. After he starts to roll out, he decides to try to force a pass to Jack Doyle who was short of the end-zone but past the first down marker. This was an extremely tight throw that was not worth making in the 1st quarter of a game. In this situation, he must take his medicine, throw the ball away and take his three points. Turnovers in the red-zone are a killer and this turnover ended up costing the Colts the game (as they lost by 1).

4th Passing Attempt — 16 Yard Completion to Jack Doyle

This was a great bounce-back play. The play action was sold nicely, he gets his lower body into position nicely and fires a strike to Doyle in the right position. He gets a nice amount of velocity on the pass and it’s placed perfectly.

5th Passing Attempt —Incomplete Pass to Ryan Grant (Deep)

The decision wasn’t bad, even though he was slightly late on the throw (you don’t want to make back shoulder passes too far down the field and with the safety screaming over the top). The pass sailed on him a bit, due to his shoulder elevating when throwing the pass (his shoulders should be parallel to the ground on these types of throws). When the shoulder elevates, the pass usually sails and that’s what happens here. In short, it was a good decision, but the pass sailed.

6th Passing Attempt — 16 Yard Completion to Jack Doyle

This was probably his best pass of the game. He takes a very nice 5-step drop, recognizes the pressure from the outside, steps up nicely in the pocket and fires a strike to Doyle into a small window. He gets a lot of velocity on the pass thanks to him stepping up in the pocket and he did all of this on 3rd and 12.

7th Passing Attempt — 4 Yard Completion to Josh Ferguson

This was a smart checkdown throw that Luck needs to make more often. He makes his read down the field, sees no one is open and then takes what the defense gives him. He fires a good pass and Ferguson picks up 4 yards.

8th Passing Attempt — 8 Yard Completion to Chester Rogers

Luck had two good options on this play: Rogers and Doyle. This is a quick hitter passing play, so he takes a quick drop, makes a read and hits the receiver quickly. He makes a nice throw and gets the easy first down. When Luck makes these easy reads and throws, it’s very tough to stop this Colts offense. As a side note, Rogers runs a fantastic route here and is able to separate from the cornerback.

9th Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass to Jack Doyle (Short)

This is another quick hitter type throw, where the coaches expect Luck to make a pre-snap read and stick with that read. Doyle is the guy here, and Luck throws a nice sharp pass in a tight window, but Doyle drops it. This is a smart play-call on 2nd down and it was a good decision and pass by Luck.

10th Passing Attempt — Incomplete Pass to Ryan Grant (Short)

Luck does a very good job on his 5-step drop and he reads the field well. Most of his options were taken, so while his pass was 5 yards short of the line of scrimmage, it was probably his best bet for a 1st down. He makes a good pass to a receiver crossing the field, but Grant drops the ball and the Colts are forced to punt. This was Luck’s receivers second dropped pass of the game.

11th Passing Attempt — 1 Yard Completion to Eric Ebron

Luck takes a 7-step drop here, but just as he’s taking his last step he already has pressure in his face and he’s forced to throw to the drag route run by Eric Ebron. Luck makes the smart, safe throw on 2nd down but isn’t rewarded as Ebron is able to do nothing with the catch and is tackled immediately.

12th Passing Attempt — Incomplete (Throw Away) Pass to Darrell Daniels (Short)

The throw-away was the smart decision, but Luck needs to sense the pressure up the middle earlier and rollout to buy more time.

13th Passing Attempt — 5 Yard Completion to Eric Ebron

Luck again makes the smart, quick read to Ebron on a crossing route. The pass is on the money, but Ebron is able to do nothing with the pass after it’s caught. This was a well thrown pass by Luck.

Overall

It’s tough to grade Luck when his top receiver, TY Hilton, didn’t even play the game and he played with a bunch of receivers who didn’t run very good routes. Luck wasn’t on the money with many of his throws and made some poor decisions, but it isn’t anything alarming, especially considering it’s only his second game back. Every rep he takes in a game situation is a positive and will only help him moving forward.

I find the coaching staff has done a very good job easing him back into playing. He’s getting meaningful reps in games and participating fully in practices. With two more preseason games, including the 3rd game where he should see the entire first half, Luck will have one more good outing before suiting up for real. The 4th preseason game is almost always saved for backups and reserves fighting for roster spots, but I’ll be curious to see if the Colts give him a drive in the game.