Andrew Luck looks to keep improving
While the story in New York has been whether Tim Tebow will take over for Mark Sanchez as the Jets' starting quarterback, their opponents Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts, quietly are going about their business with the No. 1 overall pick at the helm.
Andrew Luck showed last week why the Colts (2-2) have plenty of confidence in him to guide the franchise's rebuilding effort.
Luck continues to impress as a rookie. He set career bests with 31 completions, 55 attempts and 362 yards while throwing two touchdowns in a 30-27 victory against Green Bay on Sunday.
Luck led a 13-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a 4-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 35 seconds remaining, completing a comeback from a 21-3 halftime deficit.
Despite that performance, Luck told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that he knows he can't get too excited because of one big win.
"It takes consistent performances to win," Luck said. "Being consistent, being on it every play."
"That is what you're looking for in a quarterback. That grit. That will to win," interim coach Bruce Arians told the team's official website. "A rookie, I don't put statistically in the categories with (Tom) Brady and those guys. His passer rating is not going to be as high as theirs, but he's playing at a level that far exceeds where he should be at this time."
Luck cited the effort of quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to help him understand the team's expansive playbook.
"Coach Clyde made a reference to the playbook was sort of like throwing a bunch of mud up against the wall and seeing what sticks and the other stuff drips down and you pick it up and throw it again," Luck said. "Everybody took the challenge well ... the more we learn, the more effective we can be as an offense."
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While Luck leads the youth movement for the rebuilding Colts, the veteran Wayne, who turns 35 next month, continues to prove he's far from finished. He caught 13 passes for a career-high 212 yards against the Packers, and his 506 yards rank third in the NFL.
"You realize those were a lot of big situations that he comes up in," Luck told reporters. "It's not that hard to throw the ball in the vicinity of a receiver and he goes out and makes an amazing catch. He made everybody look good."
Wayne said his performance was inspired by the absence of coach Chuck Pagano, who missed the first of an indefinite amount of games while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Pagano wrote a letter to the team prior to last Sunday's contest demanding the players focus on football rather than him.
"Chuck's instilled a lot in us," Wayne told reporters. "His whole motto since Day 1, the first meeting, has been team, team, team, team. Nothing else. So we've wanted to do it every week as a team. That's all we practice, that's all we preach."
Luck admitted that playing for Pagano was indeed a motivating factor for last weekend's win.
"Very emotional, obviously, and we did, I think, lie it about it all week, saying we were going to keep it in check," Luck told Nichols. "We wanted to go out there and do anything we need to do to do it for (Chuck)."
Luck, in speaking with Nichols, did say the emotion the Colts exhibited last week can't be the only thing that propels the team this season.
"One realizes we can't go through that emotional roller coaster again and expect to consistently win or consistently do your job," Luck said. "I realize almost an obligation to coach Pagano, to get back and ... stack another win on top of this and another and another."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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