You did not expect this.
You did not expect the Indianapolis Colts, chock full of inexperienced rookies, to be 8-4. But they are, and they are in prime position to secure a Wild Card playoff berth.
And it’s all because of Andrew Luck. Wait, no it isn’t.
Luck has been clutch this year. He threw a touchdown with no time left in Week 13 against the Lions (after throwing three incompletions and having a dropped interception), and he has guided the Colts to close wins against the Browns, Dolphins, Bills, Vikings and Packers.
But he has not been a good quarterback.
The RGIII vs Luck debate? There is no debate. RGIII completes over 67 percent of his passes, and Luck completes 55.5 percent of them. RGIII is currently third in passer rating, and the former Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, is second.
Luck? He’s 29th.
How about interceptions? Good quarterbacks protect the ball, right? Not Luck. He’s tied for the most interceptions out of any quarterback, and the QB he’s tied with, Drew Brees, hasn’t gone up against the likes of Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo and easy teams. Luck has enjoyed an easy schedule.
But he has collapsed against good teams. And he has failed to protect the ball in general.
Brees has 16 interceptions, but he also has 31 touchdown passes. Luck has 17 touchdown passes, which is horrible for someone with 16 interceptions. That touchdown-to-interception ratio is simply inexcusable for a quarterback. Yet people are talking about this kid for Rookie of the Year?
Sure, his team is good. But they haven’t played good teams. New England and Chicago shredded them. Top 10 defenses have found flaws in Luck’s game, intercepting him five times while holding him to a 50.6 completion percentage and one touchdown pass. He’s only played against two top 12 defenses, though. And he’s been picked off 16 times.
If the Colts were the Giants or Broncos, consistently playing teams like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New England, Atlanta and Houston, Luck’s horrific stats would be even worse. But he’s underperforming against teams like Jacksonville and Tennessee. Against 19th ranked Detroit and 26th ranked New England (in total defense), Luck has been picked off six times.
Unlike RGIII, Luck has weapons around him. T.Y Hilton is establishing himself as a star, and Reggie Wayne is a proven pass-catcher. RGIII has Pierre Garcon, but he isn’t very proven and has been plagued by a foot injury all year long. Yet RGIII has been intercepted four times.
If you multiply that number by four, you get Andrew Luck’s interception total. That means Luck is not doing well at protecting the ball.
I’ve given you a lot of evidence, but here’s more. Manning had a string of six consecutive games with a completion percentage above 70 percent. Luck hasn’t eclipsed 70 percent in a game once this year. In fact, he’s been in the 50s and 40s (percents) eight times this year, including the last three games. In fact, his highest completion percentage in the last three games was 54.1 percent.
How much more evidence do you need?
Luck is a talented quarterback, and he will do good things in the NFL. The Colts will probably make the playoffs, and Luck’s clutch ability has helped. As time goes on, he will improve, and hopefully for the Colts, he’ll start protecting the ball more.
But for now, let’s stop the Rookie of the Year comparisons. Let’s stop the Peyton Manning comparisons. Because right now, Andrew Luck is just another rookie with big goals.
And, to reach those goals, it’s going to take a lot more improvement.