- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly analysis of the Colts’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Andrew Luck wasn’t bad against the Chargers. He was 18-for-30 passing for 202 yards. But you were left thinking about how much better his night could have been. The second-year quarterback isn’t one to blame others, but he had every right to do so Monday because his receivers failed to come through. The Colts had four drops against the Chargers, and one of them doesn’t even include Darrius Heyward-Bey not being able to get under a pass on what should have been a 60-yard touchdown in the first half. It seemed like Luck was on his way to having a good game because he connected with receiver Reggie Wayne for a 35-yard completion on a flea-flicker on the first play of the game. Luck threw for 54 yards on the first series but for only 148 yards more in eight series after that.
Fast-forward: Just like in Week 5 with Seattle's Bruce Irvin, Luck will face a linebacker playing his first game of the season after a suspension. Denver linebacker Von Miller is back in the lineup after being suspended by the NFL for the first six games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy. The Broncos may be 6-0, but they missed Miller’s presence on the field. Luck will face a Denver defense that’s 29th in the league in yards allowed (407.5) and a league-worst 337.3 yards a game through the air.
Let him go: The Colts deserve credit for sticking with being a run-first offense through the first six games because it helped them become No. 4 in the league in rushing. But it’s time for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to loosen things up and let Luck have some freedom through the air. Luck is too good a quarterback to be 25th in the league in passing at 224 yards a game. He’s also tied for 17th in the league in touchdowns with seven. Those aren’t the types of numbers you want to see from the best young quarterback in the league.
Prediction: The Colts will need Luck’s arm to be able to keep up with Peyton Manning and Denver’s lethal offensive attack. Manning will put up big numbers. It's his homecoming. It’s the perfect opportunity for the future -- Luck -- to prove he’s ready to go toe-to-toe against the past -- Manning -- of the Colts.