This past weekend I was doing some film review, charting some Andrew Luck stats for a later post, when I was reminded of an impressive trend: Andrew Luck driving the Colts down the field in incredibly short amounts of time to score at the end of halves, or what I call "sub-two-minute" drives.
It started during Week 1, when Luck drove the team 59 yards in just 27 seconds to get into field goal range before halftime. The Colts were down 14-24 at the time, and a field goal would have put them within one score. Unfortunately, Adam Vinatieri missed the 37-yard field goal, and the Bears would take control in the second half to win the game decisively.
But, after that, the Colts would go on similar drives in game after game, as the rookie quarterback continued to impress in critical situations.
To recall, here are all of the drives that Luck led successfully after getting the ball after the two-minute warning.
Week 1: Luck goes 59 yards in 27 seconds to get in FG range at end of the half Week 2: Luck goes 47 yards in 18 seconds for game-winning FG— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) July 13, 2013
Week 3: 48 yards in 32 sec for go-ahead FG Week 8: 62 yards in 38 sec for 37-yard FG try Week 9: 58 yards in 62 sec for FG— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) July 13, 2013
Week 11: 50 yards in 70 seconds for FG try Week 12: 50 yards in 31 seconds for FG Week 13: 75 yards in 67 seconds for game-winning TD— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) July 13, 2013
Week 15: 74 yds in 39 seconds for TD b4 half Week 16: 60 yds in 51 seconds for FG b4 half Wild Card: 46 yds in 47 seconds for FG b4 half— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) July 13, 2013
Edit: There was another drive during Week 2 (TD to Reggie Wayne before halftime) not included in the above tweets, making 11 total drives for Luck and the Colts.
On first look, this seems incredibly impressive for a rookie quarterback. Outside of Weeks 5-7, the Colts were getting a successful last-minute drive in just about every game.
So, I decided to look into it.
I limited my serch to drives that started inside of two minutes left in each half and ended in either a touchdown or field goal attempt. If a quarterback gets a team into field goal range, after all, it's not a fault of the offense if the field goal is missed or blocked.
What I found was a little more impressive than I expected.
Not only was Andrew Luck the only rookie quarterback since 2000 to lead 10 successful sub-two-minute drives in one season, but he's one of just two quarterbacks (rookie or veteran) since 2000 to lead at least 10 successful sub-two-minute drives in one season.
Only Eli Manning, who led 12 during 2012, has ever led more than Luck.
Meanwhile, the Colts' sub-two-minute drives were, on average, longer (58.3 vs. 55.5 yards) and quicker (54 sec. vs. 1 min.) than the Giants. The Colts also were usually behind (by 3.6 pts) while the Giants were generally ahead when the successful drives occured (by 3.5 pts).
Now, none of that means the Colts' drives were inherently better than the Giants', but it's interesting regardless.
Nevertheless, the fact is that Luck is one of two quarterbacks since 2000 to lead 10 successful drives inside of two minutes. That's impressive for anybody, much less a rookie with a sieve of an offensive line and inexperienced weapons.
Note: I'll go a little deeper into those numbers as well as looking closer at the Colts' sub-two-minute drives later this week as well.
Luck is ready to break out I have watched all of his College games and Pep is in town. Reggie is still the man until further notice, Allen going to have a solid career, Fleener has Pep so no excuses, Hilton breaks out like I thought looking at his College tape. Heyward-Bey at the right time in his career, Nathan Palmer pushes Heyward-Bey for playing time. Bradshaw keeps Luck clean and we make the playoffs.
Luck had the same knack in College. I believe he also has a great record after picks, fumbles, etc. This is vintage Luck.
Slump....yeah right, only an idiot would say that. What they should be saying is will the Colts reach the SB this year or the following year. Tired of hearing about their schedule too, they can beat Seattle, Denver, Houston (twice) and SF. In fact I think they will win three out of the five games. More likely to slip up against St Louis and maybe Jax or Tenn.
@stpetejohnny Agreed. I'm really tired of people who didn't watch the Colts last year giving credit to Arians for our successes - Luck and the Colts went 11-5 _despite_ Bruce Arians, not because of.
Just throwing this out there. Is anyone interested in getting a CA fantasy league going? I've never started a league, but they can't be to difficult to put together and I my experience they are a good deal of fun.
This was some nice research and even nicer results. Damn! But is anybody else concerned with all the FGs? Of course the line stunk and there were many rookies contributing, but to take things to the next level, those FGs will need to become TDs more often than not.
IIRC, one reason for Vanderjagt's high career percentage was that he had an unusual number of short kicks (in a dome half the time). My view was that the O was so Peyton-driven, most D's did not really worry about the run (especially once Edge lost his top gear after the injury) and the shorter field reduced 18's odds once they got closer to the goal line. If that WAS the case, let's hope Pep and Luck have a plan to get sixes instead of threes. Especially before the half (in the 4th quarter you KNOW if you need a TD or FG and one is as good as another when you are down by one. But before the half, you need to build as much of a lead (or reduce the opponents' as much) as you can.
One thing that impressed me the most was in many of these cases I seem to remember us running the no huddle, and to me it seemed that we flowed better as an offense in these situations, so I really give Luck the majority of the credit in these cases.
@paulcareyjr I remember the same thing. There was a lot of calls for more no huddle offence during the season on this blog as well. I guess we'll see if Pep thinks we're right.
Great read. Anyone up for an "Alternate Universe" story? Where Peyton didn't miss a season, Andrew goes to the Browns, and we have declining, moderately successful seasons...
Never mind. I like this reality much better. We're living in the future and none of this has happened yet.
Hopefully, with Hilton, Allen, Fleener, and Ballard in their second years, the coaches will let Luck run more no-huddle.
@naptown_ninja The question is are Luck's teammates ready for the no huddle? Andrew could run it in his 2nd year in college.
I have a question, sort of related. All I'm seeing now are articles asking whether Luck will have a sophomore slump, and most say that he will. Did people ask the same thing when Manning finally had his first winning season (I think it was his second season)?
@buymymonkey I've seen no serious analyst suggest he'd have a 2nd year slump. The best writers all expect him to be a top 5 QB and a total monster. Who is predicting a slump?
@seniorcaretaker @hankster There may not be. My point was more that the Colts got luck-y (in both senses) last year and even though a QB like Luck will help any team beat their pythagorean prediction, the Colts are still a prime candidate for regression. I could easily see the Colts going 9-7 or 10-6 even though Luck and the rest of the team improves. Last year's record was simply that unlikely.
@hankster why would you think that they will be in so many close games this year? They have improved the defense and O-line. Luck and Pep Hamilton scored 40+ points per game Luck's senior year. Arians' offense was enjoyable to watch but it was low scoring.
@hankster @Nate Dunlevy @buymymonkey One more thing to add, there weren't as many rookie QB's getting chances to start their whole first year before Manning, and most did poorly their first year and improved during their second year. I think sophomore slumps for NFL QB's may have started after Peyton Mannings days.
@buymymonkey Scott Kacsmar wrote a piece on how the Sophmore slump isn't even a thing.
I just heard Cosell and Farrar talking about Luck the other day and they were saying they expected a huge year.
None of the non-talking head-types are saying that for sure. As for the meat-head crowd, I'd just ignore them.
They didn't ask it about Manning because his rookie year wasn't nearly as good as Luck's. His team won 3 games. People were still wondering if he was going to be a success.
Very interesting. Where did Rothelsberger fall in that comparison? I ask since it seems as though Arians' vertical approach would enhance the chances of fast drives.
I don't know about Ben, but Luck had the same sorts of drives when needed under Pep's West Coast offense at Stanford. So I don't think Arians's offense was the big factor here ... I think Luck really gets in a zone and makes it happen.
@hankster The Steelers averaged a little over 3.5 sub-two-minute drives under Arians (2007-2011). They had one year where they had 9 (2010), but no other years w/ more than three.
Great stats, thanks. I'd like to know how many timeouts the Colts had going into each of those drives. That could add even more perspective.
This is a great piece and helps capture that missing link between the data on Luck and the results we saw on the field. Dude stole points. He flat stole them.
The other factor here was Arians' willingness to go for it, in stark contrast to Jim Caldwell's approach. Imagine what Caldwell would have done if Luck were 50, 60, 74 yards away with less than 40 seconds to go? Maybe start with a handoff to see if they could generate anything... watch the runner get stuffed behind an inept line, then take a knee to end the half.
While I watched a few Stanford games over the last couple of years, I'm not sure of Hamilton's philosophy... hopefully closer to Arians' than to Caldwell's.
@LovinBlue Brings up and interesting point, what if Arians took more chances because he knew he did not have much to lose, but a lot to gain, go big and be successful and get a chance to impress as a potential HC in the NFL, go big and not be successful and hey good chance you are still in Indy next year working with one of the top up and coming QB's...
Just throwing that out there...
@LovinBlue Also, Pagano. When it comes to situations like this, I have to think that Pagano has just as much say into whether the team goes for it or not.
THIS is why all us Colts fans are so convinced that Luck was otherworldy good. I'm gonna use and abuse this stat in my debates from now on.