COMMENTARY | On September 16th last year, Andrew Luck was facing a difficult situation for any rookie quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts had just given up a touchdown that had tied the game with 36 seconds left in regulation against the Minnesota Vikings. In just his second career start, Luck was asked to drive the team down the field in under a minute so that kicker Adam Vinatieri could have an opportunity to win the game. Using just three plays, Luck took the team into field goal range, and Vinatieri clinched the victory with a 53-yard field goal.
It has been a year since that game, and Luck has only proven that it wasn't just a fluke. Andrew went on to produce 7 game winning drives throughout the season. Not only was that a record for a rookie quarterback, but it tied the record for any quarterback during the regular season.
Many people have said that the Colts overachieved last season. They said that the close wins that Andrew Luck and the Colts pulled out couldn't possibly continue. The pun that the Colts had gotten "Luck-y" throughout the year was far overplayed. If the season opening game against the Oakland Raiders has shown us anything though, it has shown that Andrew Luck truly is a clutch quarterback.
Consider this. Andrew Luck has started 17 regular season games. The Indianapolis Colts have won 12 of those games. Andrew Luck now has 8 game winning drives.
Nearly half of his starts have ended with Luck making a game winning drive. If the Colts have won the game, odds are that it was done in the closing minutes thanks to Andrew Luck driving the team down the field.
In order to be considered clutch, usually there has to be some memorable plays that are attached to a player's legacy. Andrew Luck has had those moments. In addition to his 19 yard touchdown run on a play where all of his receivers were covered against the Raiders last week, Luck has had several big plays late in ball games.
There was 80 yard drive against the Green Bay Packers that was won thanks to Reggie Wayne stretching to get the ball across the goal line with 39 seconds remaining. There was the game winning pass to Vick Ballard that sent the running back twisting into the end zone against the Tennessee Titans in overtime. There was the 14 yard touchdown pass to Donnie Avery on Luck's 5th read as time expired against the Detroit Lions.
The one thing holding Luck back from being considered a clutch quarterback is that he hasn't shown that trait in the postseason yet. In his one postseason appearance, the Baltimore Ravens had the Colts beat throughout the game, and Luck didn't have much of an opportunity to pull the team out of the hole they were in. With what should be an improved defense this year, Luck has more of an opportunity to take the Colts back to the postseason and make a deeper playoff run.
Luck has spent his short professional career making memorable moments for Colts fans. When the game is on the line, Luck has proven why the coaches can trust him so much. Many people have said Luck looks very similar to Peyton Manning, but I think a better argument could be made for Luck looking like Eli Manning. Luck might not ever throw for more than 40 touchdowns in a season, but he is definitely one of the quarterbacks that you would want if your team just needs one drive to win the game.
Daniel Biehl lives in Indianapolis and has been a follower of the Colts since Jim Harbaugh was the starting quarterback. He is a freelance writer who has played and watched football for many years.
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