The Indianapolis Colts are officially one-quarter of the way through the 2012 season. Undoubtedly, there have been some ups and some downs under the new regime. The most notable down would be the devastating loss of Head Coach Chuck Pagano who was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia during their bye week. With that came probably the highest of highs through the first four games, defeating a good Green Bay Packers team 30-27 after being down 21-3 at half time last week.
In between all that, Colts fans (and NFL fans in general) are constantly comparing Indianapolis’ current quarterback (Andrew Luck) with the guy whose job he now occupies (Peyton Manning). So let’s put it in numbers. How exactly are Luck’s numbers compared to Manning’s at the same point in his first year?
Through 4 games, Luck’s Colts are 2-2. This includes embarrassing losses to both Chicago (week 1, lost 41-21, Luck also threw 3 interceptions) and Jacksonville (week 3, lost 22-17 on a last minute 80-yard pass), but wins over Minnesota (week 2, 23-20, the Vikings only loss so far this season) and Green Bay, as noted above.
Manning was not so fortunate in the first quarter of his inaugural season. Manning’s Colts threw up a big donut, losing all of his first four games. Here’s the round up: Week 1, Miami, 24-15; week 2: New England, 29-6; week 3: New York Jets, 44-6; and New Orleans, 19-13.
Career stats to date
Manning completed 55.5% of his passes through four games, going 81-146. He totaled 992 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also logged in 11 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 58.6 and was sacked 11 times.
Lucks numbers would seem to indicate he’s off to a better start than #18 was. To date, Luck has only a 54.2% completion rate, but already has 1,208 yards with 7 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions, good enough for a 77.1 quarterback rating. Luck also has been sacked 9 times, with 4 of those coming in last week’s game against the Packers, which may be a testament to Luck’s better mobility.
Individual Game Stats
So why would I post the game stats when we already know the totals through the first four games? To see what, if any, improvements were made week-to-week. Totals don’t really tell the whole story, as the majority of numbers can be put up in one game.
Week 1, vs. Miami – 21-37, 302 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 4 sacks, 58.6 quarterback rating.
Week 2, at New England – 21-33, 188 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, 51.1 quarterback rating.
Week 3, at New York Jets – 20-44, 193 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, 39.3 quarterback rating.
Week 4, New Orleans – 19-32, 309 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 4 sacks, 63.2 quarterback rating.
It’s hard to imagine, based on this paltry beginning, that Manning would eventually evolve into a 4 time MVP, Super Bowl winning quarterback who is a first ballot Hall of Famer. But that’s why numbers can be deceiving. Through four games, Manning looked absolutely terrible, but through his work effort and natural talents, he was able to turn it around and become the great player he is now.
Week 1, Chicago – 23-45, 309 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions, 3 sacks, 52.9 quarterback rating.
Week 2, Minnesota – 20-31, 224 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 2 sacks, 107.5 quarterback rating.
Week 3, Jacksonville – 22-46, 313 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 0 sacks, 75.7 quarterback rating.
Week 5, Green Bay – 31-55, 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 4 sacks, 81.0 quarterback rating.
Really, with the exception of the Bears game in week 1, Luck has been highly efficient and, at time, special. If you take the week 1 numbers out, Luck is completing 55.3% of his passes, with 6 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. That’s good for an 82.2 quarterback rating for his last three games. Clearly Luck is managing things a bit better in the beginning of year 1 than Manning was able to, but 4 games does not a Hall of Famer make.
Colts fans should be excited about the possibilities Luck can bring to this team. If his progress keeps escalating at the rate it appears to be going and the Indy brass is able to get some better protection and pass catchers around him (Reggie Wayne not obviously included), things could be very good very soon for the Colts.
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