It was baptism by Julius Peppers for Andrew Luck in his first regular season start for the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. It came on the road, in front of a packed Soldier Field house and by a tough Chicago Bears defense that had him under pressure all day. And when I say pressure, I mean pocket collapsing, running for his life pressure. Thankfully, Luck can ran. And run he did.
Andrew Luck held up pretty well considering. He managed what little pocket he did have masterfully. He led his team back onto the field with poise and confidence. Even once victory was out of reach, Luck showed no signs of defeat or panic. It was a great demonstration of the rookie quarterback’s maturity and proved once again that Andrew Luck is wise beyond his years, both on the field and off.
For Colts fans wanting to hit the panic button, Luck’s rookie debut numbers have an eerie similarity to someone else’s:
Andrew Luck 1st start stats: 23-45, 1 TD, 3 INT, 309 yards. Peyton Manning 1st start stats: 21-37, 1 TD, 3 INT, 302 yards.
— IndyStar Sports (@IndyStarSports) September 9, 2012
The numbers for Luck’s preseason debut were also practically spot on to Peyton Manning’s. Yes, the kid is going to be just fine. He’s going to take his rookie knocks, granted I’d like to see fewer of them in the future. Can we get him some protection, please? Luck was on the ground, sometimes two or three Bears deep a little more than I am comfortable with. Maybe he should do what Peyton did and start taking the offensive line to dinner. Morton’s anyone? Beef those guys up a little…
The Colts will have plenty to study on film this week. A lot of it won’t be pretty. Dropped rookie passes, jaw dropping dropped veteran passes (primarily by Donald Brown), blown coverage, missed opportunities (including an interception Jerraud Powers couldn’t hold onto). But it wasn’t all bad. The bane of the Colts’ teams, the special teams, is finally showing improvement. Pat McAfee’s rocket leg had the Bears backed up to the Colts goal line more times than not. And Safety Joe Lefeged had a few huge plays spotting the ball outside the end zone. Winning the battle of field position will go a long way for this young team down the road. If they can make some other plays… and they will.
They’re called growing pains for a reason. They hurt sometimes. But imagine how Andrew Luck feels. At least you’re not waking up this morning with number 90 imprinted on your chest.
It will get better. That’s what Luck is telling himself today. And Colts fans should do the same…