AFC South

Is Andrew Luck Having the Best Rookie Season in NFL History?

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 23:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2012

Considering all the factors surrounding the situation he was drafted into, quarterback Andrew Luck's rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts has to now be considered the best ever in NFL history. 

Not only has Luck put up historic numbers without much help on offense, but he's also turned a franchise left for dead into one headed to the postseason. 

Luck's 205 yards Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs broke Cam Newton's one-year record for most passing yards by a rookie. He now has 4,183 with one game to play.

More importantly, Luck's touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne in the fourth quarter propelled the Colts to their 10th win and a clinched playoff spot in the AFC. He now has seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most ever for a quarterback regardless of experience or season. 

Of course, there's also the challenge of following a legend quarterback and helping to navigate a team through the adversity of losing a head coach to a serious illness.

Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning set the bar high for Luck, who has 21 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions this season. In the Colts' one season without Manning (neck surgeries) last year, Indianapolis went 2-14 and was awarded the chance to draft Luck. 

Lucky.

However, luck hasn't always been on the Colts' side this season. 

Head coach Chuck Pagano, hired from Baltimore to lead the Colts out of the NFL cellar, was diagnosed with leukemia in October and hasn't coached a game since. While offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has been in charge, the Colts have hardly missed a beat. 

Luck's offense has been the catalyst to the franchise's quick revival, but that doesn't mean he's received much in terms of help. 

Despite only having only Wayne as an established offensive weapon, Luck has helped the Colts average 22 points a game. A running offense ranked in the lower third of the NFL has offered little relief for an offense that lives and dies on the right arm of Luck. 

In terms of pass-blocking, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranks the Colts offensive line as the second-worst in the NFL this season.

The Colts are a flawed team, and it's likely that their upcoming playoff trip will be one and done.

But the fact that Luck has led Indianapolis to the postseason—despite a roster lacking elite talent and a myriad of outside factors—is reason enough to consider Luck's rookie season as the best ever.

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