Last week we learned that you can never count Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck out. If there were lingering doubts that he was a guy who could pull his team out of the abyss (which they had put themselves in, incidentally), last Saturday night put them to rest.
Of course, with a suspect defense, the Colts are prone to fall behind quite often, which sets Luck up for plenty of great comebacks.
So how do you stop Luck? You send pressure at him—a lot.
Recently, fellow Bleacher Report staff member and AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz broke down several ways the New England Patriots defense can stifle the Colts offense.
In that piece, he pointed out that the more pressure you send at Luck, the shakier he is.
That seems obvious, but as Frenz points out in the piece, teams aren’t sending extra defenders at him as much this year.
So obvious it may be, teams aren't doing it because they were more worried he would scramble or dump the pass over their blitzing linebackers than they were he would pick them apart from the pocket.
However, this weekend the Patriots should absolutely blitz him—often.
Frenz points to Pro Football Focus’ passing summary on Luck (subscription required), which shows that his quarterback rating drops drastically under pressure.
With no pressure, Luck’s QB rating is 100.2—under pressure, it drops all the way down to 63.1. When he isn’t blitzed, Luck’s rating is an 89.9. When he is blitzed? Down to 83.
Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs kept the pressure up over the course of the game, but Luck was still able to succeed in large part because the Kansas City secondary wasn’t up to the task of containing T.Y. Hilton, especially after Brandon Flowers went down in the fourth quarter with a concussion, via John Breech of CBSSports.com.
Which is why, in addition to pressuring Luck, the Patriots should have Aqib Talib on Hilton every down they can.
Talib is a physical corner and just the type of player to get into Hilton’s head a bit with some early contact. For longer routes, some safety help wouldn’t go amiss, but a lot of Hilton’s damage seems to come after the catch, so knocking him off his route would go a long way towards helping keep Luck from having his favorite weapon.