ANDERSON — So good, so soon.
The headline is from a 1999 edition of Sports Illustrated with Peyton Manning on the cover. But it applies just as well to the Indianapolis Colts’ current second-year quarterback.
Andrew Luck entered the bye week with 1,574 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. His completion percentage is up from 54.1 percent as a rookie to 60.7 percent this year, and he’s been at his best in the biggest games.
In the Colts’ victories against San Francisco, Seattle and Denver — three Super Bowl favorites — Luck has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s won 16 of his 23 career starts and already has led nine game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Luck has been everything Indianapolis could have hoped and more after being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and his most recent win came in a duel with the legend he replaced.
Luck completed 21 of 38 attempts for 228 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts held on to beat Manning and the Denver Broncos 39-33 in a thriller last week.
Afterward, Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano was asked how much added pressure his young quarterback put on himself leading up to the nationally televised showdown.
“Zero,” Pagano said without hesitation. “Zero. About the same he put on here when he signed his first contract, which was none.”
That approach could serve Luck well in the final nine games of the season when he will be playing for the first time in the NFL without his favorite receiver. Reggie Wayne became the fifth key offensive player to be lost to injury for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee while attempting to catch a poorly underthrown ball in the fourth quarter against the Broncos.
Luck has accepted his share of the blame for the injury, but he also understands he must move on quickly.