There’s hasn’t been much doubt about Andrew Luck being the right pick for the Indianapolis Colts as their future franchise quarterback, but sometimes he still shows them and the rest of the NFL there’s a lot more to him than just being an excellent passer.
Maybe the San Francisco 49ers aren’t as good as they think, but it takes a special team and effort to go into Candlestick and actually outmuscle the 49ers, as the Indianapolis Colts picked up their most important win of the Andrew Luck era, rebounding well from their loss to the Dolphins with a 27-7 win.
Luck doesn’t mind being the usher on a power-running offense, while taking part of the ground invasion himself. He was only 18-of-27 for 164 yards, but he did what the Colts needed him too – short passing to Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bay and Ahamad Bradshaw, while managing the clock perfectly, and running for 24 yards and a touchdown himself.
The running game has been another exceptional thing, as the Colts continue their transition into a team that can do it all. The addition of Trent Richardson is a huge one, and the newly acquired first round pick didn’t wait long to make an impact, running for 35 yards on 13 carries and scoring a touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw, who promised he’ll be running angry, was probably the best offensive weapon on the field, going for 95 yards and a touchdown while catching three more passes for 19 yards.
The 49ers are in somewhat of denial. The opening week performance against the Packers seems to be the exception, especially with Vernon Davis out at the moment. The power running game is good to a point, while teams like the Colts have picked up on Colin Kaepernick’s running, and simply prefer to force him out of the pocket, although he couldn’t get anything going anyway with the lack of passing options he had. Kaepernick was oblivious to a few open players more than once, but it’s impossible to drop the loss all on his shoulders.
The Colts did an excellent job in forcing him to throw bad passes (13-of-27), including an interception. He also fumbled the ball once and was sacked three times. Andrew Luck so a lot of pressure coming his ways, but was sacked only once and got rid of the ball fast enough to avoid any costly yardage loss.
The Colts sent a message to the league, not just the 49ers. They’re aren’t just a team with a great quarterback, they’re not too far from being a great team. Luck has the offensive weapons around him to handle tough and blitzing defenses, as they had more running yards than passing yards for the first time since 2011. Their defense didn’t see the best of what the 49ers can offer when fully healthy, but they made them play bad as well.
Luck was slightly overshadowed by Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III last season, with “too many” rookie quarterbacks doing an amazing job on their first year. However, the early parts of this season are proving that being the number one pick wasn’t reaching for Luck or the Colts, who are on the right path to building something that provides an answer to almost every good team in the NFL.