There is definitely a belief around Indianapolis this season that the have a great chance of reaching the play-offs, just as long as they can keep Andrew Luck out of harm’s way, that is.
The rookie has been instrumental in the Colts impressive first half of the season, accounting for 13 touchdowns and quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league.
Luck has already run for 159 yards this season, scoring five touchdowns himself and showing just why he was so highly sought after when it came to the draft. While shining in terms of his rushing ability, the 23-year old has also been in sensational form with his passing; completing 208 of 362 attempts for 2,631 yards and 10 touchdowns, conceding only nine interceptions in that time. As a results the Colts have shot up the betting NFL markets, with play-off spot now increasingly likely.
Luck’s form this year hasn’t gone unnoticed by opposing teams, however, and there have been more and more signs that the quarterback could be being targeted out for some special treatment by defenders. The two-time Heisman Trophy winner has taken some big hits in recent weeks, most notably during the 27-10 victory against Jacksonville when Luck was subject to a couple of late hits and cheap shots by the Jaguars defensive line.
The Colts interim coach Bruce Arians made no secret that he was concerned about the focus his star QB was coming under from opposing tacklers, highlighting the role he felt the officials needed to play in ensuring Luck didn’t come in for too much rough treatment.
“I can’t say other teams are purposefully (hitting Luck), but there sure are a lot of them happening. You put yourself in harm’s way out there. Andrew’s done a good job of sliding and hopefully the referees will do a good job of protecting him when he does slide,” admitted Arians to football news reporters when asked if he felt his quarterback was being illegally targeted by opponents.
If Luck can avoid injury for the rest of the season, then the Colts have a great chance of building on their promising start to the year and securing their play-off spot. Keeping Luck injury-free will be critical to those plans.