Saturday, October 5, 2013
Wilson and Luck are tough in the clutch
By Terry Blount
If the statistics are to be believed, the quarterback who has the ball last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium probably will be the one who leads his team to victory.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, both in only their second NFL season, are at their best when their team is down late in a game.
Since entering the league in 2012, Luck leads all NFL quarterbacks with eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Guess who is No. 2? Wilson is tied for second with six such drives, including two this season.
Luck said many things impress him about Wilson, but one thing stands out above everything else.
“He's a phenomenal playmaker when things go south,” Luck said. “You see him spinning out, running backwards and chucking the ball 70 yards downfield to someone running deep, which is incredibly impressive.”
Wilson sees some of the same things in Luck.
“The thing about Andrew that I like the most is he always seems to be clutch,” Wilson said. “He always seems to be on time with the football, and he’s a great leader. I have a lot of respect for him. He's just a tremendous guy who loves the game of football.”
Colts coach Chuck Pagano also sees those things in Luck, but what does he see in Wilson?
"I’ve seen enough to know this guy is a top-level starter in this league," Pagano said. "He has an NFL arm and has great presence and command. He’s never shaken and [is] athletic as all get-out. He makes some throws that are incredible.
"He’s a huge challenge for us to try to contain. His ability to extend plays scares the heck out of you, like what he did for his team last week."
It was last week against Houston when Wilson led the Seahawks on a 98-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive, which included scrambles of 25, 13 and 11 yards.
Everyone knows Wilson can run, but Luck said the rest of Wilson’s game also is top-rate.
"He is able to extend plays and make something happen," Luck said. "But he also has NFL arm strength and can make every throw. He’s very underrated as just a dropback passer."
Pagano said the Colts brought Wilson to Indianapolis before the 2012 draft. They later made Luck the No. 1 overall pick, but Pagano was impressed with what he heard from Wilson.
“He’s sharp as a tack,” Pagano said. “You sit and talk to the guy and you see he’s a winner.”
Regardless of which player you believe is better, Wilson and Luck appear headed for enormous success in the NFL. Wilson’s career QBR is 68.1, fifth-best in the league since the start of 2012. Luck’s is 67.5, which ranks seventh. Those are the two highest QBRs among all players with fewer than four years of NFL experience.