Andrew Luck’s first NFL game last Sunday was a mediocre one at best. The rookie threw for 309 yards, and a touchdown, but threw three costly interceptions. His stats were actually eerily similar to that of Peyton Manning’s first game in the NFL in 1998.
Manning was 21 for 37 with 302 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions against the Miami Dolphins in his first game. Luck was 23 for 45 with 309 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in his debut. The next game for Manning he threw for three more interceptions against the New England Patriots.
The biggest question is did Luck learn enough for Week 1 to not make the same mistakes in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings?
Luck was facing a daunting task anyways in Week 1. Out of the first eight former quarterbacks drafted No. 1 to start in Week 1, only one player won his game and that was Alex Smith in 2005 for the San Francisco 49ers. The Colts haven’t had a rookie win in his first game at quarterback since 1955 when George Shaw won the game for the Baltimore Colts.
Luck didn’t look as bad as people thought though. After re-watching some of his mistakes, it appeared Luck was just a few minor inches from not having any interceptions at all and having four touchdown passes. All three of his interceptions would have been touchdown passes if he threw the ball a bit deeper and more accurately.
The first two interceptions were under thrown passes. The receivers had their man beat, but Luck didn’t get enough arm into the pass and under threw them. If there was a little bit more into the pass they would have been touchdown passes and 14 more points would be on the board.
His third and final interception came in the end zone when Indianapolis was threatening to score. Luck forced a pass into coverage that was tipped and picked off. It appeared with a second look that Reggie Wayne was interfered with and caused the Bears defender to tip the ball into the hands of his teammate. Again, a little bit more accuracy and that’s another touchdown pass instead of an interception.
Luck was a very smart quarterback at Stanford and studied film like no other. I have all the confidence in the world Luck will see his mistakes of under thrown balls on his interceptions and work on it all week in practice.
Listen, the kid was playing his first ever game against a very good defense bringing lots of pressure. His nerves were high and he under threw the deep balls and over threw the shorter routes. That is one of the easiest correctable mistakes and I think they will be fixed this week.
The NFL is a game of inches and Luck saw that first hand on Sunday. Expect that to change to his favor soon. Three interceptions that were passes that would have been touchdown passes adds 21 points to the scoreboard. The Colts lost by 20. The math is self explanatory on how the game would have ended.