Rams set for first glimpse of Colts' Luck

News-DemocratNovember 9, 2013 

Having had comeback bids end with incomplete passes in the end zone in their last two games, the St. Louis Rams could learn something from quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

Luck has been the NFL's new Captain Comeback, directing 10 game-winning drives in only 1 1/2 seasons in the NFL.

That's the most comeback wins for any quarterback in his first two seasons in the NFL, topping former Arizona quarterback Jake Plummer's nine game-winning drives in 1997 and 1998.

"We've had opportunities the last two weeks and got close but didn't get it done, but we respect what he's done," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said of Luck. "He's really an outstanding quarterback and has a good feel for just making things happen at the end."

Luck led the Texans to 15 fourth-quarter points last Sunday in a 27-24 comeback win over the Houston Texans.

"Their defense is equipped to go get a stop and get the ball back, and then he's very, very good in the two-minute, no-huddle offense," Fisher said. "When it's time to go score, they've been pretty good at putting drives together."

Luck was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. He guided the Colts to the playoffs last season and he has them atop the AFC South Division this year.

"Nobody missed that guess," Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens said of Luck being taken No. 1 overall. "I think the biggest thing that stands out when you look at the body of work that he's done is his composure in the fourth quarter.

"A lot of talk when you talk about Andrew Luck is his ability to bring his team from behind. That's a feather in any quarterback's cap."

Luck's mobility also stands out. He's rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns this season.

"He's surprising mobile for a guy his size," Clemens said. "That was the thing that kind of surprised me. I wasn't aware of fast he was or how nimble.

"He's a good athlete all the way around. He's a good dual threat."

Thrust into the unenviable position of replacing Peyton Manning, Luck has chartered his own path with the Colts.

"I never really viewed it as having to replace an icon, a legend, arguably one of the best ever, if not the best ever quarterback to play the position," Luck said. "I just viewed it as a great opportunity to play football for a living.

"I don't think I worry too much about having to fill in Peyton's shoes. I realize that's probably an impossible task and you'd go crazy trying to do it."

Luck has a 10-2 record with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions at Lucas Oil Stadium, providing a sense of security for Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

"You sleep well at night, I'll tell you that," Pagano said of having Luck. "I know this, you're never out of it.

"I don't care what the circumstances are or what the score is, when you've got a guy like that under center, you're never out of any ball game."

Luck has been aided by an effective rushing attack that averages 121.8 yards per game.

Running back Trent Richardson, acquired in a Week 3 trade with Cleveland, has 13 rushing touchdowns, while Donald Brown is averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

"They're different styles," Fisher said of the Colts' 1-2 punch at running back. "Trent's a heavy, hard-hitting, pound-it-out kind of back. They try to wear you down a little bit with him.

"Donald's more of an outside runner, but the thing that makes Donald so dangerous is he's really quick through the hole."

Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has stepped up to fill the void from the loss of Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL.

Hilton has caught 34 passes for 533 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Colts defensive end Robert Mathis remains a force with an NFL-leading 11.5 sacks this season.

The Rams have lost their last two games against the Colts by a combined score of 87-34. They fell to Colts 42-6 in the most recent meeting on Oct, 25, 2009, at the Edward Jones Dome.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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