Nobody wants to hear this because Andrew Luck is one of the NFL's best stories this season. Colts' fans refuse to hear this because Andrew Luck is Superman.
Except that he's not.
Andrew Luck broke all of Peyton Manning's rookie passing records, mostly because he played every game this season. And that is part of the problem.
Luck has not played more than 13 games in a single football season. On Sunday he suits up for his 17th game playing every snap from scrimmage for the offense. This is not counting the preseason.
I don't care how big and strong, how mentally tough the lad is, it is a simple matter of biophysics that the extra games will start to take its toll on his body.
Let's not forget the 49 sacks, ninth in the NFL, and the 116 QB Hits, second in the NFL. The laws of physics are immutable.
In the first 13 games of the season, Luck averaged 22.7 completions on 41.3 pass attempts per game, completing 55 percent of his passes. In the last three games Luck threw the ball an average of 30 times per game, completing 14.7 or 49 percent of his passes. Luck is both throwing fewer and completing a lower percentage of his passes since he hit the 13-game mark.
Unfortunately, the one activity that can take a greater toll on a quarterback's body, running with the football, increased during the last three games. In the first 13 games Luck averaged 3.8 attempts per game for a 4.6 yard per run average. In the last three games he carried the ball an average of 4.3 times per game for only 2.5 yards per rush. He is actually running the ball more late in the season with lower results.
The one favorable indicator in the late-game numbers is that Luck has zero interceptions in the last three games, compared to 18 in the first 13 games. He is also averaging a third of a touchdown pass more. While he's completing fewer passes at a lower rate, he is not turning it over as much and he is making more scoring plays.
A sober reflection on these numbers should tell us that Luck is maturing as a quarterback and making fewer mistakes, which is good. But the numbers also demonstrate that he is tiring as the season wears on, not so good.
Sure, Luck is a young man, with seemingly unlimited amounts of energy. He is also a rare warrior, as mentally tough as they come. That carried him in the last three games. At some point the laws of physics will catch up to him no matter how strong he is mentally.