In his second outing things went much smoother for Andrew Luck in his home debut. He was more accurate, decisive, and it is not certain how much of this can be explained by playing the Minnesota Vikings instead of the Chicago Bears.
Regardless, Luck showed everything that made him the No. 1 pick in the draft. After a near-flawless first half by Luck, the Colts blew their 20-6 lead in the fourth quarter. He took over with just 0:31 left and became the 7th rookie quarterback since 1960 to lead a game-winning drive in his team’s first or second game.
It was no ordinary drive either, as this was just the 33rd time a team had 0:31 left or less on the clock and completed a scoring drive on their way to a win. The one-minute drill compares most favorably to one Peyton Manning led in 1999 at
We have a lot more tables to look at this week now that we can compare Luck to someone. That would be…himself from last week.
Drive No. 1
Time: 7:48 left
Score: Down 3-0
Drive: 13 plays, 80 yards for a TD
Luck avoided a sack for the third time on a 3rd-and-9 play and found Donnie Avery for the first of three straight completions. Off play action, Luck went to his trouble area last week (deep right), but this time he threw a better pass and Avery had a 41-yard gain against Antoine Winfield down to the MIN 3. If the pass was out a little further to the pylon, then this would have been a touchdown, but it was still an improvement over last week.
Coby Fleener dropped a pass that was a little high, but catchable. Luck then went to his other rookie tight end Dwayne Allen for a quick (snap-to-release time: 1.87 seconds) 3-yard touchdown on his first ever target. Allen almost immediately turned for the ball on the play.
Drive No. 2
Time: 11:33 left (2nd quarter)
Score: Leading 7-6
Drive: 3 plays, 7 yards (three and out)
After a short pass to
Drive No. 3
Time: 6:02 left
Score: Leading 7-6
Drive: 9 plays, 40 yards for a FG
This drive started with a free play because
After three runs which included handoffs to Avery, Luck rolled to his right and found Avery for 10 yards to convert another third down. Two plays later Luck found Fleener for 9 yards, but the Colts failed on the 3rd-and-1 run with Allen the tight end getting the carry. They kicked the field goal with 1:49 left to go up 10-6.
It would have been a nice decision to go for it down there at the MIN 8.
Drive No. 4
Time: 1:11 left
Score: Leading 10-6
Drive: 8 plays, 64 yards for a TD
With only two timeouts left, Luck was in the two-minute drill. As we have seen often so far, he was able to move the offense quickly with short gains. After a spike, Luck avoided the pressure and scrambled for seven more yards. It was the first time in the last 15 snaps that Luck was pressured.
The clock was down to 0:14 and the Colts were out of timeouts, but Luck made his biggest pass of the day after some subtle movement in the pocket for a nice strike down the middle to Reggie Wane for the 30-yard touchdown with 0:07 left.
Drive No. 5
Time: 15:00 left (3rd quarter)
Score: Leading 17-6
Drive: 14 plays, 53 yards for a FG
Luck’s first pass of the second half was a bubble screen to T.Y. Hilton (first NFL catch). It was good for 15 yards, and was the biggest YAC-play of the day for the Colts (17 yards). Two plays later Luck went deep to Mewelde Moore, but he dropped it. The catch would not have counted since Anthony Castonzo was flagged for holding, but the Vikings of course declined.
The drive continued and eventually led to a field goal because of two
First it was roughing the punter on fourth down. Luck threw another screen, but this one lost a yard. Then Luck threw maybe his worst pass of the day, as it was a dangerous pick six opportunity. However, the bad snap to start the play likely threw off his timing. Minnesota’s next missed opportunity was when Luck scrambled out of bounds for a yard on 3rd and 16, but Jared Allen brought him down late and was flagged 15 yards.
Four plays later guard Seth Olsen was penalized for holding. On third down Luck was sacked for the first time in the game.
Adam Vinatieri made the 45-yard field goal to put the Colts up 20-6.
Drive No. 6
Time: 4:45 left
Score: Leading 20-6
Drive: 3 plays, 3 yards (three and out)
Backed up at their own 1-yard line, the Colts played it safe on first down. But on second down, they went with a play-action pass and Luck did a great job of avoiding the sack from Brian Robison. The pass was way overthrown to Fleener, but all that mattered is the ball was released. The Colts ran it on third down, going three and out again.
Luck avoided six sacks in the game, but no rescue was finer or bigger than this one.
Drive No. 7
Time: 14:48 left (4th quarter)
Score: Leading 20-6
Drive: 3 plays, 6 yards (three and out)
The dive started with what I liked to call the “Hines Ward screen” when the Steelers would get Ward an early reception in the game to keep his streak going. It was just a 2-yard gain to
Drive No. 8
Time: 12:40 left
Score: Leading 20-6
Drive: 3 plays, -12 yards (three and out)
Getting a bit conservative with the two-touchdown lead, Luck did nothing but hand the ball off three times on a drive plagued by false start and holding penalties. I have seen this too often from Arians in
Drive No. 9
Time: 5:07 left
Score: Leading 20-13
Drive: 6 plays, -4 yards
On third down Luck found Avery, who made yet another catch with tight coverage around him. Avery had 9 receptions (10 targets) for 111 yards in the game, and only had 25 YAC because of how close the defenders were when he caught most of these passes.
Luck had seven passes in the game that he threw within two seconds after the snap, and three of those completions went to Avery.
The Colts went empty backfield on third and five, and taking a sack here was not a bad play. However, Luck made the sack a lot more damaging than it had to be by not going down sooner. It was a 22-yard loss, and helped the Vikings with field position. Hopefully he will learn from this one.
Drive No. 10
Time: 0:31 left
Score: Tied 20-20
Drive: 4 plays, 45 yards for a game-winning FG
The Vikings rushed five this time, and Luck found
Luck would complete a 7-yard pass to Avery, but
Out of his 28 career game-winning field goals, this was the longest yet for Vinatieri. It is the first of what will likely be many game-winning drives for Luck, who is already showing himself to be one of the league’s most effective quarterbacks in the two-minute drill.
Chuck Pagano gets his first win, 23-20, and Colts fans can breathe easy after this performance.
It was obviously a much better outcome for Andrew Luck this week. He finished the game with very good stats, which are even better when you remove the two spikes. He led the offense to 23 points on 10 drives (2.3 points per drive) as opposed to 14 points on 12 drives (1.17) last week. He was in full control at the end of each half.
Luck was also much better on third down. In
Again, how much of this is getting to play the Vikings and not the Bears remains to be seen, but we can make some comparisons anyway for how the games went down. The two spikes have been removed from Luck’s
The most obvious differences come in the increased use of the shotgun and Luck making shorter throws. After just one screen last week, he had five against
He went with more high-percentage plays. The “STR” is the snap-to-release time, which was nearly identical in terms of average from last week. His rate of pressure was higher this week, but Luck handled pressure better by scrambling more.
One of the first downs was a gift from Jared Allen, but Luck still handled it better this time. He will have to keep doing that, as the offensive line has a lot of progress to try and make this season.
Finally, here is a look at how Luck fared with play-action passing the first two games:
With a home game against
Absurdly detailed breakdowns like this (along with the uber-reasonable forum following and willingness to be unabashedly sentimental when need be) are what makes this literally the best sports blog I've ever seen. Good job, Scott.
Also, where do you get those points per drive stats? Do you just count them while watching the game or is there anywhere that keeps track of that? I've been trying to find this for awhile to show Peyton-haters how he'd be putting up even better numbers if his D didn't get run all over all the time and limit possessions, and on the opposite coin, how that D's numbers tend to get inflated because of said limited possessions. Why points per drive for both offense and defense hasn't caught on (at least in a more mainstream environment) is beyond me.
Wait... I'm used to seeing "YAC" stand for "Yards After Catch", but this stat's expressed in percentage. What does this "YAC" mean?
I know some of you are interested in RGIII. He had a lot of YAC this week, but after two games it's 55.5%. With the Colts getting a near identical 33% the last two games, I'm not sure what that says for the long-term, but it's a number you'd like to see go up a bit more. Think low 40's.
@CaptainComeback @NateDunlevy @mchappell51 @gmbremer Such is the mess that is the Minnesota Vikings secondary.
@AJ_ Percentage of total passing yards that were YAC (Yards after catch).
@McLaughlinMitch I know. In terms of getting presure and tackling, MIN and CHI played almost identical though.
@JBTWEETNOTHINGS True. They didn't cover that great, but at least they tackled well. Luck's getting almost no YAC.
@ScottKacsmar Thanks a ton! One last thing: is there any way to see team's difficulty of defenses faced in a given season that goes beyond ppg of all the defenses they played?
@ScottKacsmar Oh, okay then. It's just a different bake of the same stat. Got it.
Anyway, why would YAC be attributed to the QB? I'd think that would be as much a function of the receiver as anything else, and that's even before you factor in the types of coverages being implemented by the opposing defense.
Don't get me wrong; a high YAC is good because it means more yardage in the end. I'm just a little confused why it's being presented as a stat for the QB, that's all.
@CaptainComeback I'd rather they not need to be great at tackling. Just deny the completions better. :)
@Fondue I don't know any site that has that. You'd have to lay it out yourself from the FO stats.
I believe ESPN's QBR had Peyton as No. 1 in both 2008 and 2009.
@ScottKacsmar Ideally, something showing the strength of defenses that QBs faced in terms of points per drive (which I consider the best way to measure offenses and defenses in a way that the guy on the street understands). For instance, while Brees may have had clearly better statistics (if only by a small but significant margin) than Manning in 08 and 09, but faced worse defenses on average, we could call it a virtual wash statistically and cite Peyton's better 4th Q drive/comeback statistics as a tiebreaker or something. Or whatever would be appropriate, if that measure still favors Brees than I may reconsider one or both of those MVP awards.
@Fondue I might know something. What exactly did you have in mind?
@ScottKacsmar Yes, I recall that from years past, too. Manning so often saw defenses set defenders so far back that receivers would often get tackled within seconds of getting the ball. All too often, Reggie, Stoke (when he was here), Gonzo (ibid), Clark, etc. would get the pass and either get tackled immediately, or only get a couple of steps off.
Anyway, I was just curious why it was presented here. The posts up above are pretty good reasons, I think.