Beginning when the Indianapolis Colts drafted Peyton Manning in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Colts fans’ adoration for the quarterback with a bright future grew immensely. Manning soon became an icon for not only the team, but the city as well. During the preseason, Irsay opted to let Manning go in his pursuit of rebuilding his team behind this year’s first draft pick, Andrew Luck. It is no surprise that when the city of Indianapolis learned of Jim Irsay’s decision to release the beloved Colts quarterback, many fans expressed their disappointment and disbelief.
Without a doubt, Manning left big shoes for any quarterback to fill. Add to that the pressure of leading a group of young Colts into a new era centered on rebuilding from the ground up. Luck certainly has his work cut out for him. Not to mention the fact the Colts won only two games during the 2011 season with a trio of mediocre quarterbacks at the helm. Combined, all of these issues put Luck under a larger microscope where every triumph and mistake is scrutinized by analysts, experts and fans alike.
Week 1 (0-1)
The Colts had a difficult task at hand beginning their season on the road. The fact that the team had to face their Midwest rivals, the Chicago Bears, raised the stakes that much more. Despite the Colts’ loss, the team showed moments of greatness. Andrew Luck’s performance, in fact, was comparable to Peyton Manning’s stats in his rookie debut.
Luck’s stats: 23/45 attempts for 309 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions
Manning’s stats: (in 1998) 21/37 for 302 yards, 1 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
Week 2 (1-1)
Although it took the Colts until week 15 to secure a win last season, Luck lead his team to victory in week 2. Despite the Colts having home field advantage, the battle against the Minnesota Vikings was tough. However, Luck proved his first draft pick status as he got the Colts into field goal range for Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning score with mere seconds on the clock. The young quarterback also showed his capability to learn and grow, improving his stats and productivity. At week 2 in Manning’s rookie year, the Colts had yet to win a game.
Luck’s stats: 20/31 for 224 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Manning’s stats: (in 1998) 21/33 for 188 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions
Week 3 (1-2)
Unfortunately, the Colts could not keep the streak alive in their week 3 contest against their division rivals, the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts, however, remained competitive keeping the score tight until the very end. Although his stats took a hit in week 3, it was made clear the rookie quarterback has what it takes to go to work under extreme pressure. Had it not been for a defensive blunder late in the game, Luck could have lead his team to another win.
Luck’s stats: 23/45 for 309 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions
Manning’s stats: (in 1998) 20/44 for 193 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Previous to the 2011 season, it had been years since the Colts’ have had a losing record. Many Colts fans felt defeated last year as they watched their team end the season with only two wins. This frustration was made more intense upon the release of numerous fan favorites. Watching the Colts enter their bye week with a losing record may bring back memories of the pain felt as the Colts were defeated week after week. However, there are plenty of positives to keep in mind as the Colts rest up before preparing for, what could be, the most difficult home game of the season.
- It only took the 2012 Colts two games to secure their first win. It took the 2011 Colts 14 games.
- Compared to Peyton Manning’s rookie season, Andrew Luck seems to be performing as good as, if not better than, Manning.
- An early bye week gives ailing Colts players a chance to recover before their week 5 match up versus the Green Bay Packers.
- Despite their two losses, the Colts have collectively proven to be working as hard as they can week to week. They have certainly learned from past mistakes.
- The Colts are tied for 2nd in the AFC South with division rivals Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville. With plenty of time left, Indianapolis has a chance to finish their season in better standing then 2011.
More information on the Colts’ weekly outcomes:
Week 1: Colts season opener shows promise for future with Luck at the helm
Week 2: 12th man: Colts’ home crowd helped team succeed Sunday against Vikings
Week 3: Colts enter bye week with losing record after Jaguars secured first win Sunday