There were supposed to be growing pains. Well, there are, but they’re diminished and hidden behind everything good about Andrew Luck, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a shocking 6-3 record while effortlessly stepping inside the shoes of a legendary quarterback, making everyone forget this was the worst franchise in the NFL last season.
How do you do that? By putting in his best performance on a road game this season, which did include him being intercepted once (and another time which was overruled for a dubious roughing the passer call) but also running for two touchdowns, the only ones scored by the Colts’ offense. The Colts are now 2-2 when away from home, helped by the fact that they played what just might be the worst team in the NFL.
And the road is going to get tougher. Two games against the Houston Texans, while the Patriots and the Detroit Lions are also on their away schedule. Still, Luck wasn’t supposed to be this good, this much of a leader and a play maker so soon. Rookie quarterbacks aren’t supposed to be this comfortable when going into a beaten up franchise, trying to find it’s way after losing its Shepard, that ruled for over a decade and his name became synonymous with anything that had to with the Colts.
But it’s not only about the numbers, which weren’t that great when it came to the passing game. Luck finished with 227 yards on 18-26 passing with one interception, adding 11 yards on 7 carries with two touchdowns on the ground.
It’s about the confidence and leadership; his ability to throw in and outside the pocket. It’s about a rookie quarterback that’s on his way to tie and break the record for wins by a no.1 rookie quarterback, currently held by Sam Bradford, who won 7 games with the St. Louis Rams in 2010. It’s hard to see Luck not reaching and passing 7, maybe even making the postseason, which is pretty much unheard of for a newly picked franchise quarterback. Rebuilding should take years, while pieces are added together.
But this just goes to show two things – how great Peyton Manning was, and how devastating his injury was last season for the Colts, who won only 2 games with him after getting used to 10,11,12 and 13 wins with him behind center. The defense isn’t that great, and there’s not much of a running game. But the receiving crew just needed a strong arm and fast-working mind to make the most of them, and Andrew Luck is that other thing. A quarterback who’s good enough to pick up the pieces and put them together quickly from the moment he arrived.
Let’s not kid ourselves. He’s not the perfect quarterback, far from it. Forcing passes at times due to a bit of a gunslinger mentality that needs to be slightly curbed before he can be mentioned among the best in the NFL. Unlike Griffin, Luck has all the pressure and expectations thrown at him, similar to Cam Newton, with no schemes or game plan to slowly incorporate him into the league and his new team. Play good, or the best that he can, now, right now. The wins and looking like the same leader he did back with Stanford is just a bonus.
The schedule has been relatively easy so far, with the wins coming against the Jags, Miami Tennessee and Cleveland; But Luck has also played well in wins over the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings. This kid is for real, and the Colts’ demise and down time may eventually be only one season, with the Andrew Luck era of wins and possibly more beginning much sooner than anyone expected.