AFC South Tape Review: Andrew Luck's Second Quarter Was Spectacular

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistAugust 22, 2012

Why does everyone want to talk to a guy who posted a passer rating under 60?
Why does everyone want to talk to a guy who posted a passer rating under 60?Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

A cursory look at the stat sheet of Andrew Luck's performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers would lead someone who didn't watch the game to assume the rookie quarterback struggled mightily.

After all, Luck's two interceptions helped him to a passer rating of just 51.3.

After the game, however, all the talk about Luck was almost universally positive, and the gushing continued unabated. The reason was because of how he rebounded from a horrendous start.

Luck's first-quarter issues were significant, though perhaps not as bad as they seemed, but his second-quarter play was stellar.

Here are four plays that stood out as examples of why Luck got so much attention.


0:13 (First Quarter) 1st-and-10: Luck finds Coby Fleener for 24 yards


This is what "next level" quarterback play looks like. Luck looks left, then right, then feels the rush from behind, steps up in the pocket and finds his tight end 20 yards downfield. Though this play was technically in the first quarter, it's a pristine example of superior pocket presence and the ability to read his progressions and pay it off with a big strike downfield.

This play is so good it can't be overstated.

Note in the photos how far up in the pocket Luck moves from his first look to release. He's covered almost five yards without ever taking his eyes from downfield. This is just fantastic play.




9:31 (Second Quarter) 3rd-and-six: Luck throws for T.Y. Hilton, intercepted

Rarely is an interception one of the best throws of the night, but for Luck, his second pick was.

Many rookies will panic on a third down and medium and try to force their first read. Luck looks off his first read and fires a strike to Hilton who is running free in the Pittsburgh secondary 20 yards downfield. The ball hit Hilton in the stomach, but he bobbles the pass, bats it up in the air, and it's picked off.

Again, we see Luck focused downfield, reading his progressions and delivering a perfect pass. In this case, Hilton was so open that had he caught the ball, he would have turned upfield and ran unmolested for a touchdown.

Stats don't lie as much as people would like to believe, but in this case, they perjured themselves.


5:55 1st-and-10: Luck throws to Coby Fleener for 8 yards

When a team like the Steelers blitzes a rookie quarterback up the middle, the end result is usually bad.

Pittsburgh disguised the pre-snap read for Luck, but he recognized the blitz in his face and managed to release a strike to his hot route, tight end Coby Fleener.

Again, this is not a play rookies make. This not a play most quarterbacks make. The pass was perfect, and it had to be because a linebacker came flying in to cover Fleener. He looks wide open in the photo, but by the time the ball arrived, a linebacker was jumping the route.

Luck not only made the right read, but he made a superior throw and avoided a hit in the process.


0:22 2nd-and-1 Luck finds LaVon Brazill for 14 yards

After a dump-off to Donald Brown for nine yards in the "one-minute offense," Luck hustles his team to the line of scrimmage, doesn't use a timeout and doesn't waste time spiking the football.

He gets his players in the right formation, and he hits a guy he didn't even know five months ago for a nice gain that set up a final pass for a field goal.

After a timeout and a completion, Luck calmly moved his team to the line and executed a spike with one second left on the clock.

The result was a 53-yard field goal and a successful half.


After his rocky start, Luck finished the game 14-of-17 with two incompletions coming on the intercepted pass and the spike to set up the field goal.

Taken together with the things illustrated above, you can see why Luck is getting so much attention around the country.