|Andrew Luck answered an interception by going 14 of 17 to end the half on Sunday night. (Getty Images)|
Now a few days removed from another encouraging quarterbacking performance from Indianapolis Colts rookie Andrew Luck, but the rave reviews for Luck continue to pour in leading up to Saturday's showdown with No. 2 overall Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
Luck's numbers Sunday night at Pittsburgh weren't stellar, but it was how he reacted to adversity that was most impressive. After throwing an interception that was returned for a score, Luck answered by going 14 of 17 to end the half, which included a T.Y. Hilton drop that turned into an interception and a spike.
Overall, it was another impressive outing, one that deserves further scrutiny. Here's how his night broke down:
Passing: 16 of 25, 175 yards, 2 interceptions
Rushing: 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 touchdown
Scores: 1-yard dive on a goal line option play
Turnovers: Interception (third-and-9, Ike Taylor, 49-yard return for TD); Interception (third-and-6, Cortez Allen, 10-yard return)
First Drive (0-0, IND 41: 3 plays, 5 yards, punt)
- First-and-10: Incomplete (Wayne) -- The Colts tried some trickery at the start of their first drive, faking a reverse and attempting to set up a screen to Reggie Wayne. Luck wisely threw the ball away, but it was obvious from the start that the Indy offense wanted to get Wayne involved early and often after he was targeted only once in the preseason opener.
- Second-and-10: Complete, Allen, 5 yards -- This seemed equivalent to a pitcher's get-me-over fastball. Just a basic roll and underneath pass to his tight end.
- Third-and-5: Incomplete (Brown) -- Luck missed Brown out of the backfield here, forcing a 3-and-out. Quite a contrast from the offense's first drive a week prior, which was one play for a 63-yard score.
Second Drive (0-7, IND 20: 6 plays, 16 yards, punt)
- Second-and-6: Incomplete (Collie) -- This was initially a big gainer over the middle, but the play was overturned upon review. Most importantly, this was the play that Collie was concussed on.
- Third-and-6: Complete, Brazill, 11 yards -- A nice ball to Brazill on an out pattern to the sideline to pick up the first down. It's the kind of pass that has to be made to keep drives alive, and it was certainly a welcome sight for Colts fans to see the play executed by a pair of rookies.
- Second-and-9: Incomplete (Wayne) -- Luck used a short drop for a quick-hitter to Wayne, though it fell incomplete.
- Third-and-14: Incomplete (Hilton) -- A false start put the Indy offense behind the 8-ball, and Hilton didn't do Luck any favors losing his balance on his route.
Third Drive (0-7, IND 36: 3 plays, 1 yard, INT)
- Third-and-9: Interception (Wayne) -- A bad throw by Luck ends in a pick-6 for Ike Taylor. There was some rush off the edge, but Luck threw an uncharacteristically bad ball -- something that can't happen on a deep out in the NFL.
Fourth Drive (0-14, IND 20: 10 plays, 80 yards, TD)
- Second-and-15: Complete, Wayne, 9 yards -- This is where Luck began to really show his mettle. After getting sacked on first down, he started a drive straight through the Steeler defense after hitting Wayne on a crossing route.
- Third-and-6: Complete, Allen, 11 yards -- Some nifty footwork by Allen helped, but a big third down conversion for the Indy offense.
- First-and-10: Complete, Wayne, 14 yards -- A play-action pass, Luck made a great throw to Wayne across his body on the move. You could sense that he and the offense were really getting into a groove.
- First-and-10: Complete, Fleener, 24 yards -- Another great throw, Luck drills one deep middle to Fleener, his college teammate, as the first quarter expires.
- First-and-goal: Incomplete (Hilton) -- Just a fade route; good, safe miss on first down. Brown would eventually run it in for a score.
Fifth Drive (7-14, IND 41: 5 plays, 26 yards, INT)
- First-and-10: Complete, Fleener, no gain -- A simple out to Fleener -- nothing to gain on the Pittsburgh defense.
- First-and-10: Complete, Wayne, 3 yards -- Another quick-hitter to Wayne. Again, it seemed the offense was certainly concerned with getting Wayne involved.
- Third-and-6: Interception (Hilton) -- This one was certainly not on Luck. A great pass to Hilton over the middle, but the ball bounced off the rookie's chest into the waiting arms of Steelers DB Cortez Allen.
Sixth Drive (7-14, IND 20: 10 plays, 80 yards, TD)
- First-and-10: Complete, Hilton, 8 yards -- Some redemption for the rookie Hilton, who gets a fairly significant gain on a short pass.
- First-and-10: Complete, Fleener, 9 yards -- Yet another short pass stretched into the Pittsburgh secondary for a good gain.
- Second-and-1: Complete, Wayne, 3 yards -- The Colts go hurry-up and easily pick up the first down on a screen to Wayne.
- First-and-10: Complete, Wayne, 27 yards -- A nicely lofted -- albeit short -- pass to Wayne for a big gainer.
- First-and-10: Complete, Wayne, 18 yards -- Luck, tired of the dink-and-dunk approach, fires a strike down the field to Wayne to get inside the Steelers' 10-yard line. Luck eventually runs it in from the 1-yard line on, of all things, an option keeper.
Seventh Drive (14-14, IND 34: 5 plays, 31 yards, FG)
- First-and-10: Complete, Brown, 9 yards -- Only 42 seconds remain in the half, and the Colts have only one timeout. Luck starts with a good gain to Brown out of the backfield.
- Second-and-1: Complete, Brazill, 14 yards -- The Colts are hurrying now, and Luck finds Brazill to get the ball across midfield.
- First-and-10: Complete, Whalen, 8 yards -- Luck hits Whalen to get into field goal range. The offense hurries to get a spike, and Vinatieri nails a 53-yard kick. It's only preseason, yes, but the efficiency with which the Colts moved down the field on the half's final drive was impressive.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Colts blogger Evan Hilbert, follow @CBSSportsNFLIND.