Back in March, I was roundly dismissed for suggesting that Andrew Luck could someday be better than He Who Must Not Be Named (aka Peyton Manning), the former legend who redefined the quarterback position while playing for the Indianapolis Colts. After yesterday's record-setting, playoff-clinching performance, it can now be said definitively: Andrew Luck IS better than Manning as a rookie.
I know, what you're thinking. What about all the picks and the low completion percentage? Your memories are short. Manning threw 28 picks his rookie season. Luck will have to throw 10 balls to Texans' defenders next Sunday to equal that mark. And while Manning blossomed into one of the league's most accurate passers, his rookie season he only completed 56.7 per cent of this throws. Luck has completed 54.3 per cent of his passes thus far and has already thrown 24 more passes than Manning did.
That's because Manning had the benefit of having a Hall of Famer in Marshall Faulk in the backfield with him and a line didn't have to wear nametags so the coaches could identify them. Luck probably won't throw for the 26 touchdowns Manning did (he has 21), but yesterday he surpassed Cam Newton's rookie yardage record in just 15 games. Whose record did Newton break a year ago? That's right, Manning's.
Of course, the most important stat is the W's. Andrew has 10 of those in his belt in 15 times to the post. Manning recorded only three in his rookie campaign with arguably a better supporting cast. Luck has his team headed to the post-season while Manning had the Colts primed for the number four draft pick after his rookie season.
Back in March, I wrote this, which turned out to be prophetic:
"What can't be measured is how many explosive plays Luck allowed to develop with his feet. How many times during the course of Luck's career did his ability to elude a sack allow a play to open up for a completion? That's one skill we've seen of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers: the ability to keep a play alive. Manning never had that.
So what do you get when you combine Peyton Manning
's arm strength, accuracy and field vision with Aaron Rodgers elusiveness? Andrew Luck
, and if he stays healthy and his college skills transfer over to the NFL
, quite possibly the greatest quarterback of all time."
Elsewhere around the NFL
in Week 15:
I said in our Pick'em piece this week I was sold on the Seahawks. Last night against the Niners, that proved to be a wise purchase. This is most definitely a wild card team that nobody in the NFC wants coming to their place in a couple of weeks. That very well could be the Redskins if they win the NFC East, pitting Russell Wilson against RGIII in an all-rookie playoff game.
Hats off to my hometown Cincinnati Bengals
for knocking two monkeys off their backs yesterday. First, they won an important game in Pittsburgh. The Steelers had owned the Bengals during the Big Ben era, so it was nice to see Big Ben make the crucial mistake with his late interception and Andy Dalton hook up with AJ Green for the big play that put the Bengals in field goal range. Second, this marks the first time since I was a junior in high school living in Cincinnati (I'm now 46) that the Bengals have put together back-to-back playoff appearances.
The collapse of the New York Giants
is baffling. The jinx is supposed to be on the Super Bowl loser, but the Giants have limped to the finish line while the Patriots are battling for a bye in the playoffs. As my friend Derek Schultz wondered aloud on Twitter last night, how did this team squeeze out two titles with this crew?
Don't look now, but Green Bay is hitting their stride at the right time, unlike last season when they sputtered into the playoffs despite being 15-1. Atlanta looks to be improved, but right now I'd have to favor the Packers to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
and Adrian Peterson
should share Comeback Player of the Year honors. What both have done for their teams is nothing short of amazing. Manning and the Broncos could have home field advantage if the Colts can knock off the Texans, which would be huge. I still don't like their chances of winning on the road. Meanwhile AP and the Vikings are on the verge of the playoffs. Only the Colts' turnaround has been more impressive than that of the Vikes.
Tags: Adrian Peterson
, Andrew Luck
, Cincinnati Bengals
, Indianapolis Colts
, New York Giants
, Peyton Manning