If you watched Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck play the last two weeks, it was hard not to be impressed. Heck, if you’ve seen him over the past two years it’s hard not to be impressed with him, and how far he’s taken a team that won just two games the year before he arrived. Luck’s performance over the past two seasons is that of someone poised to one day take over as the best quarterback and most impactful player in the NFL. But he’s not there yet, as Luck will be sitting at home this weekend while veterans Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will square off in the AFC Championship Game.
The accomplishments of Luck’s team over the past two seasons do not compare favorably to Brady or Manning, or even the other young quarterbacks in the league like Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, who will be meeting one another in the NFC Championship game. However, over the past two seasons Luck has done more with less and elevated his team to great heights, despite supporting cast around him that pails in comparison to what the four starting quarterbacks still playing have around them.
Luck has played the last two seasons behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, which has kept him under constant pressure and forced him into turning the ball over an in ordinate amount of times, which is one of the biggest complains against Luck, and is seen as a hindrance to his team’s success. However, many of those interceptions, including some of the seven he threw in this year’s postseason, were the result of trying too hard to make plays under pressure, and were not necessarily his fault. At the same time, being under constant pressure has allowed Luck to showcase his superb pocket presence and surprising skills as a runner, which will be even more of an asset when the Colts get better support for him along the offensive line.
Many of Luck’s mistakes the past two seasons, including his seven interceptions in this year’s postseason, have come as a result of trying to bring his team from behind, which has forced him to take more chances and ultimately make more mistakes. The Colts have not had a strong defense the past two years, which has constantly put Luck in a position in which he has to overcome a deficit, much like 28-point deficit he erased last week against Kansas City. Obviously, Luck hasn’t overcome every deficit he’s faced, but he has made some spectacular comebacks, none more impressive than last week against the Chiefs, and as the Colts improve their defense, they will be less reliant on Luck to do everything for them, which will help Luck to cut down on mistakes and perform at an even higher level.
For now, Luck remains a shade behind Brady and Manning, and not quite as accomplished as Kaepernick and Wilson. But his play over the past two weeks has re-affirmed what we have seen over the past two years: he’s capable of some extraordinary things, even when facing an uphill battle, and without a suitable supporting cast behind him. As Luck continues to improve even more and the Colts presumably get more help around him, he will continue his take over of the league as the as the pre-eminent quarterback and most impactful player in the NFL. He’s already done so much in the first two years of his career, and while he’s not there yet, if the past two weeks are any indication he’s real close.