The Indianapolis Colts coaching staff seems to have the training wheels on Andrew Luck still despite his ability to keep the Colts in striking distance of wins. In my mind Luck has led the Colts to a 2-1 record instead of 1-2 where they stand right now.
Luck, led the Colts down the field three straight possessions Sunday in the closing stages of the game and did everything he was supposed to do to lead Indianapolis to a win. It’s not his fault Adam Vinatieri missed a chip shot on the first of the three possessions. It also wasn’t his fault he was forced to throw a touchdown pass on the last play of the game from striking distance.
Don’t blame Luck on that last throw or any part of the Colts’ offensive struggles in the second half.
This was the second straight game the coaching staff left the training wheels on in the second half and didn’t allow Luck to lead the Colts to more scores and bury the opposition early. Indianapolis led 20-3 at one point early in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 and the coaching staff stopped doing what was working. Instead, they relied on running the ball and eating the clock and playing not to lose.
Sunday, the coaching staff did the exact same thing.
Indianapolis took at 14-3 halftime lead and was doing everything right. Instead of keeping the foot on the accelerator, they backed off and played not to lose again. For the second straight game, the Colts leaned on Luck to lead them to a late score and win the game. For the second straight game, Luck did just that and led the Colts offense like a veteran would.
In end of half situations when the Colts are trying to score, the playbook opens up for Luck to do what he does best. In every situation, Luck has led the Colts down the field for a score. Sunday he had three chances inside five minutes to do so and led Indianapolis all three times. Against Minnesota he had one shot and led them to a game winning field goal.
If it wasn’t for the defense making a dumb mistake and allowing Cecil Shorts to score with 45 seconds left, we’d be talking about how great Luck is in leading Indianapolis to two game winning drives in just three career games. I don’t want people to overlook that.
The kid is phenomenal and shows poise and veins of steel. In these late half situations, most quarterbacks struggle to lead a drive. Even the great Peyton Manning struggled at this. How many times were we left shaking out heads when Manning threw a late interception in a crucial time? So far, Luck hasn’t flinched when he should be and has led us down for an opportunity to score literally every time.
Against Chicago in Week 1, Luck led the Colts on a late two minute drive to set up a field goal to end the first half. It wasn’t his fault Vinatieri missed that field goal, but what matters in that is he led the Colts to a scoring opportunity at the end of the half.
Against Minnesota, he led the Colts to scores at the end of both halves. He hit Reggie Wayne on a 30-yard touchdown pass on 3rd and 3 with just a few seconds left on the clock to give the Colts a 17-3 halftime lead. Then, at the end of the game when the Colts defense game up the game-tying touchdown, Luck led the Colts 45 yards on four plays in just 23 seconds to set up the 53-yard Vinatieri game-winning field goal.
Luck had the same opportunity happen again against Jacksonville. At the end of the first half, Luck led the Colts on a magnificent 14 play, 80-yard drive in 4:53 as he hit running back Mewelde Moore on a four yard touchdown pass to give the Colts a 14-3 halftime lead. Once again the clock only had a few seconds left at the end of the drive.
Then, the Colts defense struggled to close the game out and the ball was left in Luck’s hands with 1:33 seconds left in the game. Once again, Luck led the Colts to a great five play, 48 yard drive in just 37 seconds to set up a 37-yard Vinatieri field goal that gave the Colts a 17-16 lead with just 56 seconds left. The rest was in the hands of the defense as Jacksonville had no timeouts and 80-yards to go. Unfortunately, the defense made that blown bonehead coverage and gave up a touchdown. Luck got the ball back again with just 45 seconds left and led the Colts on a seven play 36-yard drive with no timeouts to the Jaguars 26-yard line. His last second heave was incomplete, but the kid stayed calm and led the Colts to another couple of drives at the end of the game to set up a score.
For those keeping count the Colts have had the ball late in a half five of the six times, and Luck has led the Colts down the field all five times for potential scores. If it wasn’t for the defensive lapse he would have two game winning drives already.
My problem is with the coaching staff in that they keep the training wheels on him most of the second half. When he’s faced with adversity in needing to lead the Colts to a score he does it. Why not let him do that every drive? I think he’s more than ready.