Friday, November 9, 2012
Details on the Luck-Wayne connection
By Paul Kuharsky
At the start of the Colts’ Thursday night win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Andrew Luck developed rhythm by throwing to his most dependable target. Of course, to go so often to Reggie Wayne, the receiver had to be open.
ESPN Stats & Info says Luck began the game by targeting Reggie Wayne on eight of his first nine attempts for six completions, 64 yards and four first downs.
Then, a fourth-quarter connection on third down extended the duo’s league-lead in conversions (18), completions (20) and yards (302) on third down.
In the Colts' 27-10 win at EverBank Field, Wayne was targeted 11 times and caught eight passes for 96 yards.
Stats & Info says Luck has targeted Wayne on 30.8 percent of his passes this season. That’s the third highest quarterback-to-receiver number in the league behind only Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall in Chicago (38.0 percent) and Matt Cassel-to-Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City (31.8 percent).
The Colts rookie quarterback has thrown to Wayne a league-high 106 times this season, 13 more times than No. 2 Victor Cruz has been targeted by Eli Manning. Marshall is third with 89 targets.
When general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano took over in Indianapolis, they sold Wayne on re-signing to be a lynchpin in their rebuild.
Now the veteran receiver who’s about to turn 34 may rank as the most valuable non-quarterback on offense in the NFL. He’s done what they hoped for and more, not just by getting open and being productive, but by offering the right messages for a young team at the right time.
And that rebuilding?
The Colts are 6-3 and in great shape to win a playoff spot. Wayne is used to playing in the postseason. If he keeps playing like he has been, he may help ensure his revamped team appears in the postseason yet again.