Andrew Luck ready for Pats rematch

Updated: January 8, 2014, 5:35 PM ET
By Mike Wells | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck believes he's a better quarterback than the one who took the field 14 months ago against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

He'll have to be better if the Indianapolis Colts expect to be able to beat the Patriots in Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano joked that they burned the film from that game on Nov. 18, 2012. Luck probably wouldn't have minded if his coach was serious about that comment. The 59-24 loss was the worst of Luck's two-year NFL career.

In that game, the Colts led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter, gained 2 more net yards than New England, converted 57 percent of their third-down attempts, and watched Luck enjoy the fifth 300-yard passing game of his young career.

But Luck turned over the ball four times, with two of his three interceptions being returned for touchdowns.

"Not a lot of good," Pagano said about that game. "Obviously (I) watched it from afar last year. Obviously you're going to look at it and see what they did. You have to cover all your bases."

Luck, too, watched the film from that game and saw Patriots coach Bill Belichick disguise their coverage to confuse him.

"I think they did a great job of creating turnovers, forcing turnovers, which they still do, great job at getting at the quarterback," Luck said.

Luck knows he has a chance to redeem himself when the teams meet again Saturday.

"We know it's going to be a dogfight and looking forward to it," Luck said. "This is what the playoffs are about."

Not much will change strategy-wise with Belichick, who still will attempt to confuse Luck by disguising New England's defensive coverages.

But the Patriots finished 26th in the league in yards allowed during the regular season, and they placed linebacker Brandon Spikes on injured reserve on Monday.

"Phenomenal football team," Luck said. "They do a great job of disguising their defenses. Everything seems to look at the same. You blink for a second and it's completely different and you screw up."

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson compared Luck to Michael Jordan during an interview with NFL Network after his quarterback led Indianapolis back from a 28-point deficit in last Saturday's victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"A really complete player," Belichick said. "Great long-ball thrower, very accurate. Reads defenses well, does a good job checking plays at the line of scrimmage and making some of those adjustments. Hard guy to bring down, good feet. Can scramble and run. Can scramble and buy time to throw. Has good vision down the field. There's not really any weaknesses to his game."

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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