By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There’s a lot of reason to like Andrew Luck. Nice young man. Great arm. Super athletic. Seems smart. Well-read.
As a result, you’ve seen a lot of people hopping aboard the Andrew Luck bandwagon recently. The movement spiked this past week, when Luck was considered by some prominent sports voices to be one of the best quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs.
But now that Luck and the Colts are no longer in the playoffs, it’s worth getting this on the record.
Andrew Luck stinks in the playoffs.
That may sound crass, or overly simplistic, but it’s really the only way to explain it.
After Saturday’s loss in Kansas City — during which Luck completed 52.8 percent of his 36 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown while also losing a fumble — here’s what Luck’s overall postseason numbers look like:
ANDREW LUCK – POSTSEASON CAREER
8 games (4-4 record)
185-for-328 (56.4%) for 2,254 yards
281.8 yards per game, 6.9 yards per attempt
73.4 passer rating
Pretty bad overall, of course. But they get worse when you break it down by round. That is to say, when you section off his games against the weaker wild card teams, his performance gets markedly worse whenever he’s advanced deeper into the postseason. That may be true for almost every QB — after all, against better teams, not many QBs would see their numbers improve — but it shouldn’t be quite this drastic.
ANDREW LUCK — CAREER IN WILD CARD ROUND
4 games (3-1 record)
107-for-175 (61.1%) for 1,329 yards
332.3 yard per game, 7.6 yards per attempt
90.39 passer rating
ANDREW LUCK — CAREER IN DIVISIONAL AND CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
4 games (1-3 record)
78-for-154 (50.6%) for 925 yards
231.3 yards per game, 6.0 yards per attempt
He’s now played well enough to win just one of his three divisional round games, which he did in Denver in the 2014 postseason. He followed up that two-touchdown, two-interception performance with the following stat line in the AFC Championship Game at New England: 12-for-33 (36.4%), 203 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 23.0 passer rating.
This may seem like a story that’s coming out of nowhere, but that’s exactly the point. Luck’s postseason failures are not as well publicized as say, Peyton Manning’s or (crossing sports) Alex Rodriguez’s used to be, before they had their late-career breakthroughs. And that’s despite all the ingredients being there for such a story to somewhat define the player — No. 1 pick, anointed as The Next Great QB.
The hype and build-up of Luck was such that the Colts were willing to kick their Hall of Fame, franchise QB to the curb in order to get him.
His career — now in year six — is clearly not going the way many had anticipated. (An actual discussion point in Boston back in 2012 centered around the question of whether you’d trade Tom Brady straight up for Luck. Brady has won two Super Bowls, made it to another Super Bowl, and made it to three more conference championship games.)
And yet, last week, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal listed Luck as the second-most trustworthy quarterback in the playoffs — and Rosenthal said he “was tempted to rank him first.” Stephen A. Smith, perhaps not as thoughtful a pundit, said Luck was the best quarterback in the playoffs. Number one. Numero uno. Yahoo’s Frank Schwab listed the Luck/Frank Reich duo as the fourth-best in the playoffs.
It’s just odd for the narrative or belief of Luck being good in the playoffs exists at all. With his shoulder injury and his snowboard mishaps seemingly behind him, the next step required of Luck is quite clear. He needs to be a better quarterback in January if he wants to really make his career resemble something great.