Indianapolis Colts Offense: Analyzing Patriots’ Week 6 Test

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Sep 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) signals from the line during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Indianapolis won 35-33. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Luck, Quarterback

Chazz Michael-Michaels IS figure skating, and Andrew Luck IS Indianapolis Colts football.

How else do you explain a Colts team that ripped off 458 points in 2014, but barely gimped to an overtime win against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a Thursday Night Football contest against the Houston Texans that largely came down to DeAndre Hopkins’ bush league Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty since Andrew Luck has been sidelined with a shoulder injury?

Despite the Colts’ brain-melting disasters to open the season in Buffalo and New York (New Jersey, if you want to be fussy about it), it’s not like Andrew Luck was chopped liver.  In the three games he’s played in 2015, Luck has tossed 5 touchdowns, racked up 753 passing yards, and averaged 251 yards a game.

He’s also only had to congratulate five players for sacking him, compared to 2012 when Luck was sacked a whopping 41 times during the regular season.

Luck’s interception percentage so far this year, though, is what should make Colts fans make the same face they probably do when they’re watching certain scenes in Scarface.  In 2014, the bearded one was able to keep his interception percentage down to 2.6%.  This season, it’s almost tripled at a puke-worthy 6.0%.

In other words, every 20 times Luck throws the ball, at least one of those throws is getting picked off.  So far this year, Andrew Luck is averaging almost 40 pass attempts per game (38.7).  You don’t need to be a stats dork to figure out that an average of two turnovers just from throwing the football isn’t a great recipe for success.

And let’s not kid ourselves – it’s not often that one player is responsible for almost all of their team’s success (Hello, 2015 LeBron James!), but Andrew Luck is as close to the heart and soul of this Colts team as it gets.  Ride or die, A-Luck for life.

Who Can Stop Him?

It’s not often that anyone in New England will recommend following Rex Ryan’s lead, but looking at what ol’ Rexy did to Indianapolis defensively is exactly what needs to happen when the Patriots defense takes the field: pressure, pressure, and more pressure.

That’s not to say that the Patriots need to be sending the house on every down, but during the Bills game, Luck got hit five times, sacked twice, and threw two interceptions.  Anyone who watched that Week 1 contest knows that one (and arguably both) of Luck’s touchdown passes came during the late stages of a game that was well out of control by halftime.

Rex Ryan is famous for disguising his blitzes and bluffing that he’s sending extra heat, and then dropping defenders into coverage, but hey, if the illusion of pressure is just as effective, so much the better.

One thing New England has done surprisingly well this season is getting sacks from several different sources – instead of having a one-man wrecking crew like, say, Justin Houston. New England’s gotten multiple sacks this year from linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower (3.5 and 2.5, respectively), defensive linemen Jabaal Sheard and Chandler Jones (4 and 3), and a few others like Rob Ninkovich and Malcom Brown have contributed one apiece.

Indianapolis’s offensive line has been surprisingly stout so far this year – Football Outsiders has Indy’s trenchmen ranked 11th in run blocking and pass protection – but if the Patriots front-seven can deliver on Sunday, Andrew Luck’s potential for some of his game-breaking interceptions goes up like Apple stock.

Next: Next Up: A Spooky Little Ghost