NFL Indianapolis Colts

2012 NFL Pre-Season: Andrew Luck Has Rusty Start, But Finishes Well in Colts’ 26-24 Loss to Steelers

After a solid outing in a victory against the St. Louis Rams last week, Andrew Luck got a bit taste of what going against one of the NFL’s top defenses is like during the Indianapolis Colts‘ Week Two pre-season match-up versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The rookie got off to a rusty start, stalling in his first drive and throwing an interception to Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor for a pick-six touchdown. It was Luck’s first interception of his young NFL career.

“I turned around and the ball was right there,” Taylor said. “I just had to make sure I caught it.”

It was already 14-0 after that play, with a Ben Roethlisberger 81-yard-touchdown before that.

However, after the interception, Luck started getting on a roll, being cool in the pocket and making solid throws that even his predecessor Peyton Manning couldn’t even make. It would end up with a short touchdown run by Donald Brown for a touchdown to make it 14-7. Luck would then come back later, scoring on a one-yard run on fourth-and-goal to tie the game in a drive in which he went five-of-five.

Luck then had one last shot before halftime, leading Indianapolis towards field-goal range, which would lead to a 53-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to make it 17-14 at the end of the first half. Luck showed how he could easily change the course of a game, turning a game into an almost nightmare and now into a close thriller.

“It showed character and maturity of Andrew to come back, make plays, move the ball down the field and have two nice drives,” Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said.

The Colts would end up losing the game, 26-24, after the Steelers came back at the very end with a close-call field goal in the fourth quarter with 20 seconds remaining.

Luck finished the game going 16-of-25 for 175 yards and two picks, but one rushing touchdown. The second pick wasn’t all his fault, however. But it is pretty interesting as his second pre-season game clones Manning’s, who went 16-of-23 for 177 yards and two picks in his.

Back-up quarterback Drew Stanton did pretty well backing up Luck, throwing for 69 yards and a touchdown. Running back .Vick Ballard would lead the team in rushing with 34 yards off of 10 carries, along with Brown trailing behind with 30 yards off six carries. Reggie Wayne was solid, catching six passes for 74 yards.

A scary thing did happen to WR Austin Collie, who may have apparently suffered another concussion. If true, I think it would be the right move to just hang up the cleats. These are too many concussions for the guy in under two years. He could definitely severe his post-football life in the future.

As for the Steelers, back-up Charlie Batch was impressive, going 7-of-10 for 84 yards. Roethlisberger was 5-of-9 for 81 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Jason Ford led Pittsburgh in rushing, having 43 and 42 yards respectively. Wide receiver David Gilreath proved himself well to the Steelers when he got extra playing time, catching four balls for 78 yards. He was definitely impressive and can do wonders for Pittsburgh this season.

Overall, a solid game for Indianapolis. Next week looks to be very hyped, as Indy will face the Washington Redskins next for Week Three. Who will win: Robert Griffin III or Luck?