The Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals was powered by a virtuoso performance from Andrew Luck. The young quarterback looked sharper than he had all season – and he’s looked razor sharp – playing with a maturity, calmness and command that has give Colts fans everywhere hope for a surprising playoff run.
Bleacher Report’s Kyle J. Rodriguez actually called it Luck’s best single game performance of his young career.
Even though Luck only threw one touchdown, he should have had several more were it not for mental lapses by his supporting cast. But if you’re going to only throw one touchdown in a game, you’d want it to be the one Luck threw to rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief during the third quarter.
Let’s break down the film of the 36-yard touchdown.
Luck’s pocket presence was on display all day, and even though the Bengals struggled to bring consistent pressure over the course of the game, his ability to move in the pocket made in almost impossible for them to get to him. This however, was one of the times the Bengals were able to bring pressure by blitzing Luck from his right side.
The Colts’ offensive line and blockers aren’t able to pick up the blitz from the Bengals properly. The left defensive tackle attacks up to his right through the A gap between the center and the right guard. The left defensive end lined up wide opposite the tight end, he attacks the outside shoulder of the tight end, forcing him out wide. This, combined with the threat of both the safety and the inside linebacker in a position to blitz, causes a lane to be created for the
Bengals to pressure Luck.
Running back Boom Herron is forced to step up in pass protection and stop the blitzing Reggie Nelson. Right tackle Joe Reitz is clearly assigned to block the inside linebacker and leaves Nelson to Herron, who isn’t able to make much contact with Nelson.
Luck is equal to the pressure though, and evades Nelson, stepping up in the pocket and looking for an option downfield. Moncrief has both a corner and a safety in his area, with the corner playing outside technique as the safety is positioned above and to the inside of Moncrief. However the safety appears flat footed, maybe with his attention on Luck in the pocket, and is slow to react to Moncrief as the receiver breaks to the inside across his face.
As he steps up the pocket, Luck is pressured by the left defensive end and is almost in the defenders’ grasp as he throws the ball on the run.
The placement of the pass by Luck allows Moncrief to use his speed. By leading Moncrief to the corner, the receiver is able to gain separation from the safety who is struggling to recover his position. The arcing pass finds Moncrief, and the Colts looked set for victory from that point on.
It’s an amazing throw by Luck, who shows off his strength, pocket presence, balance and arm strength.
It was the cherry on top of the best performance of his career.