Unless you are worried more about fantasy football than betting against the NFL odds on actual games, Andrew Luck is not throwing too many interceptions. Luck is trying to win real football games, and he is going to do what he can to wind up on the right side of the final score.
Don’t get caught up in all the hype when you place your NFL picks. Andrew Luck is not throwing too many interceptions.
Maybe if your number one concern is fantasy points, then, okay he is hurting your made up football team and your wife is going to kick your ass this week because she has Tyrod Taylor and he hardly throws any picks and his passer rating is the highest in the league.
I’m talking about if the number one concern you have is a quarterback leading his real, live NFL team to victory. Then Andrew Luck is not throwing too many interceptions. He throws his interceptions when he is trying to throw his team back into a football game they are losing. If you would rather have a quarterback who checks down every play to keep his completion percentage up, then stick to fantasy football. The real thing isn’t for you.
I have followed Andrew Luck since his days at Stanford. Truth be told, he is one of my favorite players, not just today, but of all-time. It’s not an irrational feeling. The kid deserves it. He is a winner.
After Luck’s first season in the NFL, when he led what had been the worst team in the league to a playoff spot, it was the general consensus among Las Vegas wiseguys that the Indianapolis Colts were a strong bet for season wins under in his second year.
I wasn’t totally convinced of that myself, and didn’t bet the Colts season wins prop either way. However, I did say that if he could lead the Colts to the playoffs again, I would give him a 5% chance of eventually being counted among the best quarterbacks of all time.
Viola. He did it. And he’s gotten nothing but better since. He’s not there yet, but at this point I give him a 50% chance of being in the greatest-of-all-time conversation.
What's The Problem?
Now let’s take a look at the biggest knock on Luck, those interceptions.
The “problem” started in his rookie season, in his very first game.
Luck threw three interceptions in a loss to the Bears. The first when the Colts were down 14-7. He threw the second when they were down 34-14, the third when they were down by the final losing margin, 41-21.
This was more than just an opening game loss. It set the pattern for much of Luck’s career. When he is losing a game, he is going to try to get his team back into it. And he is going to do it the best way he knows how, by throwing his way back into it.
In his rookie season, Luck threw three interceptions in losses to the Jets and Patriots. Every one of those were when the Colts were losing. Four of the six came while the Colts were down multiple scores. Can you fault him for that? I can’t.
Still in his rookie season, he had two other multiple interception games. He threw three against the Lions, two while the Colts were down by multiple scores. He eventually led them to a 35-33 win, throwing two fourth quarter touchdown passes, the final one with seconds on the clock.
He also threw two interceptions against the Titans. Again both interceptions were with his team down by more than one score. Again he led the Colts to a victory, 27-23.
In Luck’s second season, he had one game with multiple interceptions, a 38-8 loss to the Rams. The first of his three interceptions came with the Colts down 35-0. Pretty sure you can’t blame that loss on Luck’s interceptions.
The Colts had three other losses with Luck tossing one interception in each. All three picks were thrown with the Colts behind.
At the end of that 2013 season, Luck and the Colts were down 31-10 in a playoff game against the Chiefs. He threw two interceptions while losing by that score. He threw one more after they had cut the Chiefs’ lead to 38-24. Luck threw two more touchdown passes and recovered a fumble in the end zone for another as he led the Colts to one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, a 45-44 win.
The following week, the Colts went down to the Patriots, with Luck throwing four interceptions. One early the game tied at 0-0, the other three with the Colts down by 9, 14 and 21 points. The Colts eventually lost 43-22.
Last season, in a week 2 loss to the Eagles, was the only Andrew Luck interception you can honestly say cost his team a win. The Colts were up 27-20 when he threw the bad pass that eventually led to a 30-27 Eagles victory.
He threw interceptions in other Colts losses to the Broncos, Steelers, Patriots, Cowboys and Patriots again in the playoffs. Every interception was thrown while his team was losing, 7 of the 9 while they were down a minimum of two scores. Most while the Colts were down by much more than that.
How to Help Luck
This might be the season where luck catches up to Andrew (God, that’s awful).
The Colts have problems between the head coach and the front office. The team does not look the same. It’s early yet and there is plenty of time to turn things around. However, I remain skeptical.
Again this season, Luck has thrown multiple interceptions, however he has thrown two with 0-0 on the board, once against the Bills, once against the Jets. The Colts lost both those games. He has other picks tossed with the Colts behind, which is excusable, but he has yet to have one of the stellar games we have come to expect.
I’m not sure if Chuck Pagano is the answer at head coach, but I know Ryan Grigson is not the answer as general manager. If I were Jim Irsay, I’d can them both if there isn’t some dramatic improvement and a deep playoff run. I might dump them both regardless.
I don’t want to see the Colts waste the career of a quarterback who can be an all-time great. Fans shouldn’t fall for the con job of ‘he throws too many interceptions.’ He is a winner, doing the utmost in his power to win real football games. Now go surround him with an offensive line and a defense and this team's NFL odds to win the AFC South and Super Bowl 50 will improve.
Time is of the essence.