The New England Patriots played host to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in a game that matched the established team vs. an up-and-comer. Notch one up for the favorite, as the Patriots whipped the Colts 59-24.
The same comparison held true for the quarterback situation, as the established monarch of NFL quarterbacks provided some on-the-job training for the presumptive crown prince.
Luck showed no fear throwing into tight coverage. He had several key completions with passes many quarterbacks wouldn't release.
He also had three costly interceptions and a lost fumble. His final stat line was 27-of-50 for 334 yards with two touchdowns.
Brady was almost flawless. He eventually turned the reins over to Ryan Mallett, but not before going 24-of-35 for 331 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to Rob Gronkowski, who led the receivers with seven catches for 137 yards.
The results for Luck were certainly mixed on Sunday:
This looks like the Andrew Luck who played at NYJ.Rookie on the road who has good stretches, but ultimately comes apart.— Collin McCollough (@cmccollo) November 18, 2012
Part of his good stretch was converting a double-tough third-down attempt:
Welp, Andrew Luck just completed a 16-yard pass with a fully-grown human being hanging on his back.— Colts RapidReports (@CBSColts) November 18, 2012
Part of the bad stretch was one of two pick-sixes that turned the game into a blowout, prompting the inevitable compare/contrast:
Andrew Luck has had an impressive season. Great job as a rookie. Not ready to go head-to-head with Brady in a shootout. No shame in that.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 18, 2012
Aqib Talib making his debut felt for the Patriots, taking a 59-yard INT return to the house. New England up 21-14 on Colts.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 18, 2012
As expected Rob Gronkowski was a key contributor for the Patriots:
They know he's the target. They still can't stop him. @robgronkowski— Nike Football (@usnikefootball) November 18, 2012
The most important part of any NFL game is the score. The Patriots stepped up in a big way, showing they aren't ready to take a backseat in the AFC:
Pats win big in Foxborough, tying the franchise record for points scored & topping the Colts 59-24. #INDvsNE— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 19, 2012
The Colts (6-4) will look to stay in control of a wild-card berth next week when they host the Buffalo Bills (4-6). Look for Luck to rally his team for an important win.
New England (7-3) can all but wrap up the AFC East with a trip to play the New York Jets (4-6).
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.