Ball control? Pshaw. Run-pass balance? Harrumph.
Given Andrew Luck’s performance in hurry-up situations, the Colts may want to strongly consider unleashing the no-huddle offense just for fun, instead of only when necessary.
“He’s calm. He doesn’t get rattled. He sees the field, he understands the offense extremely well, he knows exactly what he’s getting because he puts the time in,” said Coach Chuck Pagano. “So obviously studying their two-minute from a defensive standpoint, what kind of front or coverage you’re going to get, he understands those things and there’s no panic to the kid.”
The most obvious was his 40-yard, 23-second show to set up the game winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri in Sunday’s 23-20 victory over the Vikings. With 31 seconds remaining, two timeouts, a tie score and the ball at his own 20, Luck dodged the pass rush on first down and hit Donnie Avery for 20 yards up the left side. On second down, seeing a blitz, he made a quick decision and flipped it to Reggie Wayne for 20 more yards down the right side.
“No. 12, he got in the huddle and took control of it like he’s always been, and once again he said, ‘Let’s put a drive together. This is a great opportunity to do something special,’ “ Wayne said. “The kid’s got poise, man. He’s got winning blood in his veins.”
Luck is three-for-three in those situations.
With 1:11 left in the first half Sunday, he took the team 64 yards in eight plays capped by a 30-yard touchdown to Wayne.
With 39 seconds left in the first half in Chicago, he moved the team 59 yards in five plays covering 37 seconds, but Vinatieri missed a 37-yard kick.
In three hurry-up drives, Luck has completed 10 of 14 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown – and two of the incompletions were spikes to stop the clock. That’s a passer rating of 130.9, more than double his rating (62.5) for the balance of the two games.
“I think you try not to think too much,” Luck said. “We practice situations like that a lot. I think looking back at Minnesota’s previous game, a very similar situation came up. We talked about what we would do in that situation. You have to go out there and sort of not worry about too many things and sort of let it rip.”
What about it, coach?
“If we could get a line that’s played together for a long period of time,” Pagano said after the game Sunday. “We’ve had our ups and downs with injuries as far as the offensive line goes. … I think once the continuity is there, and you get five guys that obviously have played together. There’s a lot that goes into that. You’re looking at a young quarterback, I know we’ve got some veteran wide receivers, but two rookie tight ends. We work it, we work it all the time in practice so we have the capability to do it but right now, I don’t think today was the day, obviously.”
Maybe not. But tomorrow is coming in a hurry.