To state it as plainly and succinctly as possible, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was impressive on Sunday night. It's true, this is the preseason and that he had two interceptions. It's also true that the Colts lost to the Steelers 26-24. But when Luck, the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, played in the first half, he proved to be the real deal.
In the Colt's first three drives, Luck looked very much like a rookie going two for eight with a pick-six interception. Make no mistake, either, that interception was a bad one. Luck was late on an outside throw and he looked a little anxious against Pittsburgh's blitzes. Even his fourth drive started negatively with a sack by Lamarr Woodley.
But then Luck started to show why he earned so much pre-draft hype. In that fourth drive, Luck completed four of five passes before Donald Brown ran for a one-yard touchdown. On the fifth drive, Luck found Reggie Wayne and Coby Fleener, probably his top two receiver this year. The Colts were driving again until rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton bobbled a pass that was intercepted. Although the drive ended on the tip-drill interception, Luck's poise had fully returned.
It was back so much so that his first pass on the sixth drive was an eight-yard pass to Hilton. On that drive, Luck relied heavily on Wayne to get inside the red zone. From there, the run game took over before Luck took the ball left and into the end zone for a touchdown, narrowly avoiding a head shot. It was a formula we often saw from Luck at Stanford. Get down the field with his arm, but also let the run game suck in the front seven.
After the first interception, Luck ended by going 14 of 17 passing. That includes the tipped interception that should have been a completion and a spike. Not bad against a Pittsburgh defense that often leaves rookie quarterbacks scared and ineffective. On Sunday night, Luck showed off his football IQ calling audibles before the snap. He used his athleticism to throw across his body on the move and to score a running touchdown. And he used his arm to complete passes to all areas of the field.
The combination of skills from Luck shows why the Colts may not be picking at the top of the NFL Draft again anytime soon.