Despite losing 10 career games slightly halfway through his second professional season, there is one thing that remains for Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck: He has never lost back-to-back games as an NFL signal-caller.
Luck is known for his fourth-quarter magic, leading the Colts to seven fourth-quarter comebacks, including 10 game-winning drives. But, what seems to get lost about the second-year Stanford standout, is that he is a proven winner.
In games following a loss, Luck has thrown for 2,188 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, along with a completion percentage of 59.5. Even more impressive, Luck has seven rushing touchdowns in bounce-back victories.
Here is a closer look at Luck’s performance in rebound games.
The Colts were set to face off against the Minnesota Vikings, a team that went on to make a playoff appearance last season. The Colts started the season getting beaten by the Chicago Bears, 41-21. This game was special because it not only marked his first career victory following a loss, but it was also the game in which he had his first career game-winning drive.
With 31 seconds remaining in the game, Luck and the Colts took over from their own 20-yard line.
The first play of the drive, Luck hit wide receiver Donnie Avery for a 20-yard completion. After a timeout, Luck found Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne for another 20-yard completion, bringing them within a few yards of kicker Adam Vinatieri’s field-goal range.
After another completion to Donnie Avery was negated due to a defensive encroachment penalty, Luck spiked the ball, and Vinatieri hit a 53-yard field goal to clinch the victory. Luck finished the game with 224 passing yards and two touchdowns, completing 64.5 percent of his pass attempts.
The next week, the Colts were defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 22-17, a game in which Luck completed just 48 percent of passes.
Following the division loss, the Colts were set to face off against the Green Bay Packers, who were considered one of the toughest teams in the NFC at the time. Luck not only torched the Green Bay secondary for 362 yards and two touchdowns (with one interception), but he also had an impact on the ground, rushing for 24 yards and a score.
Luck also led the Colts on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter when he hit Wayne for a four-yard touchdown pass.
The Packers had a chance to respond, but kicker Mason Crosby missed the game-tying field goal to give Luck his second career victory in a game following a loss.
Following the game against Green Bay, Luck and the Colts played the New York Jets. They completely outplayed the Colts, picking Luck off twice on their way to a 35-9 win.
Against the Cleveland Browns the following week, Luck made a bigger impact with his legs than he did with his arm. Luck was able to find the end zone twice, as the Colts defeated the Browns, 17-14.
Following a 59-24 loss to the New England Patriots on the road, the Colts traveled back to Lucas Oil Stadium to play the Buffalo Bills. At this point, the Colts had a 6-4 record and were competing for a playoff spot.
Against the Bills, Luck completed 20 of his 37 passing attempts for 240 yards. He connected with T.Y. Hilton for an eight-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, winning 20-13.
Coming off of a tough loss to divisional foe Houston Texans late in the regular season, Luck had his final shot at redemption of the 2012 season at redemption.
The Colts traveled into Kansas City, looking to take command of a wild-card spot heading into the playoffs. Despite the offense being held in check for most of the game, Luck was able to find Wayne for a seven-yard touchdown connection to break the game’s tie and take a 20-13 lead.
That would be the final nail in the coffin, as Luck advanced his record to 5-0 following losses.
The Colts finished the season falling to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.
Although some could argue that following up the end of their season with a win to start the 2013 season doesn’t technically count as a bounce-back game, I’m adding that game into the equation.
Luck led the Colts to a victory over Oakland to kick off the 2013 season, rushing in the game-sealing touchdown from 19 yards out to give the Colts a 1-0 record. This was also Luck’s eighth fourth-quarter comeback in his young career.
It looked as if Luck’s luck would finally run out. The Colts were heading into San Francisco to square off against one of the NFL’s toughest defenses.
Apparently Luck didn’t get the memo that his streak was supposed to end.
The Colts dominated the 49ers on both sides of the ball, heading back to Indianapolis with a 27-7 win.
Luck didn’t have the best game of his career, completing 17 passing attempts of the 26 he attempted for 159 yards with zero touchdowns or interceptions. He managed the game enough to bring his record to 7-0 following losses.
Following a 19-9 loss on Monday Night Football to the San Diego Chargers, Luck’s road to perfection was about to hit another speed bump.
Peyton Manning and the undefeated Denver Broncos were traveling to Lucas Oil Stadium. The game was Manning’s first return to Indianapolis. The pressure didn’t seem to get to Luck, despite the home crowd’s boisterous cheers for Manning slightly before kickoff.
Luck started off the game hot, tossing three touchdowns in the first half, despite losing Reggie Wayne to a serious knee injury. He also scored the first points of the second half, scampering into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Colts a 33-17.
Despite a fourth-quarter comeback attempt from the Broncos, Luck and the Colts handed Denver their first loss of the season by a score of 39-33.
Luck finished the game with 228 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also had 29 yards on the ground and one touchdown.
Despite facing a 14-0 deficit early in the first quarter, Luck held his composure and delivered a 30-27 win.
After a 29-point loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Titans were faced with the task of traveling to Indianapolis to face off with the Colts for the second time in two weeks.
The results were the same, as Luck advanced his record to 10-0 following losses.
Although this could be a coincidence, I found something interesting when I looked into Andrew Luck’s game-by-game results while at Stanford.
The only time Luck has lost back-to-back games in his professional or college career was as a redshirt freshman, where the Cardinal lost consecutive games to Oregon State and Arizona.
Arizona gave Luck his only true losing streak after running back Nic Grigsby ran a 57-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Coincidence? You tell me.