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Grading Andrew Luck’s 49ers Game + Recapping his Preseason

San Francisco 49ers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Andrew Luck’s final performance of the preseason was his best one to date. Throughout the preseason, Luck threw 32 passes (roughly the equivalent to one normal NFL game) and had 5 rushing attempts. The coaching staff did a nice job easing him back in with a lot of easy throws that catered to his less than 100% arm. Good or bad, it’s good to have Luck back throwing the pigskin.

Linked below are all of Luck’s official throwing attempts and rushes from his Week 3 preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Attempt 1 — Short Completion to Wilkins - 4-Yard Gain

Luck wastes no time dumping off the pass to Wilkins after seeing it’s a zone coverage and there is no one around Wilkins. This is a smart decision on first down to make second down much easier.

Attempt 2 — Short Completion to Ebron - 10-Yard Gain

This is a pre-determined quick hitter type throw that Luck puts in the right spot and Ebron does a good job getting some extra yards.

Attempt 3 — Short Completion to Hilton - 11-Yard Gain

This is a “catch and shoot” type throw where Luck doesn’t drop and gets immediately set into his throwing position. He makes a great throw to Hilton on a 3-step slant and puts a lot of zip on the pass. He gets the first down off a great throw, which is a great sign.

Attempt 4 — Short Incompletion to Hilton

This is a very good pass to Hilton that is placed in the perfect spot. Luck placed it in a spot where only Hilton can get it. Hilton essentially dropped the ball due to good physical play from the cornerback.

Attempt 5 — Short Completion to Rogers - 19-Yard Gain

This was a pre-determined read as the receivers stacked on a rub concept. Luck made the easy read and throw to Rogers who did all the work to get 19 yards.

Attempt 6 — Short Completion to Hilton - 6-Yard Gain

This is another quick-hitter throw to Hilton that he squeezes into a relatively tight window. Hilton does a good job securing the catch. I like the amount of velocity that Luck is putting on these passes, as these are the passes he will throw the most frequently throughout hte year.

Attempt 7 — Short Completion to Ebron - 9-Yard Gain

This is Luck’s first play action throw of the game. He takes a nice drop and sells the fake well. He looks high first and then takes the checkdown pass to Ebron on a quick out. He does a good job reading high to low and makes the right decision in the end. The pass was placed well and Ebron got a nice chunk of yardage after the throw.

Attempt 8 — Short Completion to Daniels - 16-Yard Gain

This is a variation of Spider 2 Y Banana, with Daniels being the primary read out of the backfield as a fullback. Luck sells the play action well and makes the easy pass to Daniels, who was wide open and takes it 16 yards.

Attempt 9 — Short Incompletion to Grant

Grant doesn’t run the best route and was covered well by the cornerback. He isn’t physical enough on the catch and the cornerback is able to knock the ball loose. Luck could’ve dumped the ball off to the running back, but making this throw to Grant isn’t bad because only Grant had a chance to catch the ball.

Attempt 10 — Intermediate Pass to Ebron - 15-Yard Touchdown

Luck made the throw harder than it had to be by putting air under it. He assumed that the nickel was still trailing him, but he stopped a few yards from the end-zone, leaving Ebron wide open. Ebron made the great catch to save Luck on the mediocre throw. Ebron was the obvious decision on the play and Luck made the right read for a straight forward touchdown.

Rushing Attempt 1 — 1-Yard Scramble

The receivers were well covered early on and with the initial pressure, Luck was forced to run up the middle. This is a safe decision on 2nd down early in the game.

Rushing Attempt 2 — 6-Yard Scramble

Luck does a great job taking his drop, scanning the field for options, staying light on his feet in the pocket and then scrambling when he realizes nothing is there. He picks up six valuable safe yards on 1st down and was untouched.

Rushing Attempt 3 — 5-Yard Scramble

Luck does a good time buying time with his feet outside of the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and looking for targets. When he decides to run, he takes a risk trying to juke a defender, but does so well and gets 5 yards.

Rushing Attempt 4 — 15-Yard Scramble

Luck does a phenomenal job in the pocket with his footwork. He senses the pressure well and steps up into the open area. He scrambles well and gets 15 yards before taking a good hit. He’s making the smart, safe reads.

Preseason Recap

The theme of Andrew Luck’s preseason was safety. The coaches called quick hitter passes that required little work from the quarterback and involved him making a bunch of short, easy passes. This is good for Luck as he needed to get back into the flow of things, so having him making a bunch of these type of throws will get him comfortable and readjusted to the game more quickly.

Luck’s velocity looked a little off early on, but it looked on point on a few passes in his final preseason game. He’ll definitely have some early season issues with his timing on intermediate and deep passes and his velocity since it wasn’t given much work in the preseason, but Luck looks ready enough to play a regular season game. The arm itself looks good and his mechanics are on point and sharp.

I was encouraged by his decision making and his awareness in the preseason and those qualities are in mid-season form. Smart players are very good at adjusting quickly so I’m not too worried about Luck, but if he’s a bit off on his medium and deep passes early on, it doesn’t mean the alarm should be sounded.