Andrew Luck: Ability to Overcome Adversity Makes Colts QB Rookie of the Year

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIDecember 23, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 16:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts avoids the tackle by J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans in the second half at Reliant Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Texans win 29-17 to clinch the AFC South. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Of the three leading candidates for Rookie of the Year, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, Luck has statistically been the worst. His ESPN total QB rating is the worst of the three, his Pro Football Focus score is the worst of the three and Luck has thrown more interceptions than the other two combined.

Yet, Luck remains in contention for Rookie of the Year, and the stats don't properly explain it. To understand how awesome Luck has been, the adversity he has had to overcome must be taken into account. That adversity and Luck's ability to overcome it is what makes him so special.

Just look at Luck's situation. He was tasked with replacing the best pure passer to ever play the game in Peyton Manning. On the flipside, Robert Griffin III replaced Rex Grossman, while Russell Wilson replaced Tavaris Jackson. Needless to say, Luck had the bigger shoes to fill there.

From the outset, Luck was faced with a major struggle when head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer. The man who was Luck's leader would be sidelined for most of the season, forcing Luck to take an even greater leadership role. 

Not only was Luck tasked with leading his team, but he was also forced to carry an entire offense. The Colts rank 21st in the NFL in rushing, and that's with a boost from Luck's 233 yards. Without Luck, the Colts would be averaging just 90 yards per game.

Without the benefit of a rushing game, Luck has been forced to carry the offense through the air. While he hasn't been perfect, Luck has managed to rack up 3,967 passing yards, making him a lock to best Cam Newton's rookie record from a year ago.

Wilson and Griffin, though, both have the benefit of 1,000-yard backs leading their rushing attacks. In fact, Marshawn Lynch and Alfred Morris are second and third in the NFL in rushing, respectively. For comparison, the Colts' leading rusher, Vick Ballard, ranks 25th. 

Finally, where Wilson and Griffin have been the beneficiaries of solid pass blocking, Luck has been harassed at an alarming rate. Luck has been sacked 37 times, fourth most in the NFL. Wilson and Griffin have been sacked 26 and 28 times, respectively. 

So Luck hasn't been the most efficient or accurate passer. What Luck has done is much more impressive than passing stats can convey.

Luck has given a team and a city hope. Luck has done more with less than any quarterback in the NFL. For that, he deserves to be named Rookie of the Year.