With six minutes to go, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano finally yanked Andrew Luck in what would be a 38-8 loss.
It wasn't completely Luck's fault, but it was completely un-Luck-like. Sure, he wasn't out there trying fruitlessly to tackle Tavon Austin. But it was perhaps his worst loss since his NFL debut at the Chicago Bears last season.
And even with the Colts likely to win the AFC South, given what the rest of the division is doing these days, one thing is becoming clear: They are far too dependent on Luck bailing them out.
With their top running back, tight end and wide receiver gone with injuries, and with an offensive line that ranks with the dregs of the NFL, the Colts are basically asking Luck to be perfect every week out. It has been this way all season.
When he struggled in the first half of Week 9, so did the Colts. When he finally cranked it up in the second half, he bailed his team out with a miraculous victory over the Houston Texans.
The defense has stepped up a few times in big victories over the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, but it appears we won't see the defense or the run game carrying the team anytime soon. And if Luck isn't pinpoint precise, his receivers — sans Reggie Wayne — are not going to bail him out.
It's an unfair thing to ask of any quarterback 25 games into his NFL career, even one as terrific as Luck. He's being asked to throw too much and do so with one legit receiver, T.Y. Hilton.
Let's not ignore the truth: Luck was bad Sunday. He had three red-zone interceptions, two of them coming on bad decisions. Not all of the three sacks were on the line. He missed some open throws in missing on 18 pass attempts. This will not go in the Andrew Luck highlight reel, no sirs and madams.
But where is the support? All three phases of the game were dominated by the Rams. If the Colts hope to be a Super Bowl-caliber team, they have to have the supporting cast step up. Many people must, in fact. It's not a one-man show, but it's looking a lot like one, even in defeat.
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