All-22 Review: Why Is Andrew Luck's Completion Percentage so Low?

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistOctober 12, 2012

Luck has thrown a lot of passes under pressure.
Luck has thrown a lot of passes under pressure.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While Andrew Luck has drawn rave reviews for his play early in his rookie year, some key statistical indicators show that he's struggled.

In particular, Luck has a low completion percentage. Among qualified quarterbacks, Luck is 32nd in completion percentage, hitting just 54.2 percent of his passes (96/177).

Given that accuracy has never been listed as a problem area for the rookie, why would Luck excel in so many statistical categories while hitting such a low percentage of his total passes?

Is he inaccurate with his throws or is there something else at work?

A look at the tape should help.

After examining all 81 incomplete passes for Luck on the year, the following conclusions can be drawn.

Indianapolis Receivers Are Failing to Get Open

Luck threw 31 of his 81 incomplete passes to receivers that can only be classified as "covered."

Against the Bears and Vikings, Luck did miss some opportunities to check off to wide open men, but too often, his only option was throwing to a blanketed receiver.

Luck has thrown to Reggie Wayne 60 times, and he could be classified as well-covered on 10 of those passes.

Compare that to Donnie Avery, who has been targeted just 35 times, but was well covered on nine of those routes.

T.Y. Hilton has just 18 targets on the year, but Luck threw to him when covered six times.

Indianapolis needs Hilton and Avery to get open, or the offense will suffer.

Luck's Luck has Been Bad

There are a few throws holding down Luck's completion percentage that are just the breaks of the game.

He's had six passes dropped, two Hail Mary throws, four spikes and one throw to Wayne which can only be classified as a blown pass-interference call (in the end zone against Green Bay).

That's 13 throws that don't tell us much about how Luck has played, but they total seven percent of his total passes. With this small a sample size, a few throws that are functionally insignificant can radically alter perception of a stat line.

Pressure Is a Problem

Luck has thrown the ball away eight times when under a heavy rush and had another three passes batted down.

The Indianapolis line has not protected well this season, and that leads to many of the hurried and off-target throws Luck has made.

The Colts aren't giving Luck many short routes to work with, and he's often under duress as he looks downfield.

Better protection would likely cause Luck's completion percentage to rise five to 10 points.

Coby Fleener has seen his catch rate suffer because of this. He's been the victim of three "pressure throws" and a batted ball. He's had two drops, but also seen Luck target him with bad throws four times.

He's Not Perfect

More than a quarter of Luck's incomplete passes are just inaccurate throws. He's flat missed 22 times. Of those passes, 13 have been off target, while three were underthrows and six were overthrows.

While Luck has hit a few bombs already, his timing with Avery is off. He's overthrown Avery four times and underthrown him three times.

Some of that may be do to the fact that Avery was hurt through much of training camp, and they are still building rapport.

Avery has clearly struggled to get open, but even when he has, Luck hasn't hit him.

Luck has visibly improved from Week 1 to Week 5. He's doing a better job identifying open men and is more confident in his reads.

Given how deep most of the routes are for the Colts and how unstable the offensive line is, Luck's low completion percentage shouldn't be a concern at this stage of his career.


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