Last week's showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots was billed as a matchup between the present and the future, as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks dueled it out with a signal-caller many believe will one day ascend to that throne himself.
However, at the end of the day it was all Tom Brady and the Patriots, as New England tied a franchise record for points scored in a 59-24 thumping that saw Brady throw for 331 yards and three touchdowns.
Andrew Luck actually topped Brady with 334 yards but had a very uneven outing, and as the rookie quarterback goes back to the drawing board, here are a few lessons that Luck can learn from observing Brady in action.
Forcing Passes is the Kiss of Death in the NFL
This has dogged Luck since his debut against the Chicago Bears, but you simply cannot force the ball into coverage in the National Football League or bad things will happen. Interim head coach Bruce Arians acknowledged as much when speaking with Judy Battista of The New York Times.
“Every week is a learning experience for him,” their interim head coach, Bruce Arians, said of Luck. “We’ve got a lot of rookies out there, so every week is a learning experience. It was a bad learning experience. Two high throws cost him, you know. We need to protect just a little bit longer on the fumble. It was a lot better day than the first day Peyton Manning came up here; I was here that day.”
Luck's second interception of the game was a prime example of this. Down 21 in the third quarter, Luck tried to make something happen by throwing an ill-advised pass. The route was jumped by cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and 87 yards later it was 45-17.
There aren't many quarterbacks in the National Football League not named Aaron Rodgers who take better care of the football than Brady, who has thrown only 19 interceptions since the start of the 2010 season.
Step Up and Step Into the Throw
This one leans towards the nitpicky side, and it's certainly not a problem unique to Luck, as even some veteran quarterbacks have a problem with getting "happy feet" when they start to hear footsteps.
Granted, Luck is a much more mobile quarterback than he's usually given credit for, and that mobility can be a great help in extending plays. Even the most mobile quarterbacks in the NFL need to know when to step in the pocket, plant their feet, and deliver a pass accurately even as all hell breaks loose around them.
On Luck's first interception of the game he failed to do that. While he moved up to avoid pressure, he also appeared to change his arm trajectory in mid-throw which resulted in an air-mailed throw that Aqib Talib returned 59-yards for a backbreaking score.
Marry a Supermodel
OK, I'll be the first to admit that Luck's girlfriend, gymnast and fellow Stanford alumna Nicole Pechanec, is a lovely young woman and a talented athlete in her own right.
Still, if Luck wants to one day lay claim to the Golden Boy's throne of king of the mountain among NFL quarterbacks, then he has to set his sights higher.
After all, not only is Gisele Bundchen Brady's wife, a world famous supermodel, but she also has even more money than Brady does.
Yes, I know they say you can't put a price on love. I'd also wager that the inventor of that saying didn't have a wife who was worth 250 million dollars.
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