INDIANAPOLIS – When
The media will ask Luck what he’s looking to improve on in his third NFL season.
On Friday, the Colts quarterback offered an early synopsis of what has kept him grinding this offseason.
“We did a great job during the regular season of limiting turnovers, then I think (seven) interceptions in the post-season, plus a couple of fumbles,” Luck said.
“You can’t win consistently that way. I’ve sort of been chewing on that bone for a while.”
Fans better get used to Luck pointing to postseason turnovers as a room for improvement in 2014. It will be a while before Luck can completely devour that bone but for now, it’s another year in Pep Hamilton’s offensive system.
This will mark the third football season that Hamilton has had Luck as his quarterback.
In last season’s AFC Wild Card Round against Kansas City, Hamilton watched Luck throw an interception on the first play of the third quarter, pushing the Colts deficit even deeper then the 21-point halftime difference.
It was a bit different circumstances, but Hamilton had seen Luck bounce back from a similar situation.
During Luck’s senior season at Stanford, the undefeated Cardinal were on the ropes at USC.
Tied at 27 with less than four minutes to play, Luck threw a critical pick six.
There was no time for long-term sulking. In needing to keep a perfect season alive, Luck went back on the field to lead a 10-play, 76-yard touchdown drive.
After a trio of overtimes, Luck and Hamilton left the Coliseum with a 56-48 victory to push the Cardinal record to 8-0.
Deficits in college or the NFL have not rattled Luck, hence his 11 career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or OT during his first two professional seasons.
“I think it’s his ability to really have amnesia as far as what happened the previous play and to move on and learn from your mistakes but not dwell on it,” Hamilton said during the 2014 playoffs.
“That’s the only way that you can bounce back and really have the focus and then have the nerve to continue to make those throws that he made with the appropriate timing as we would use in the meeting room.
Following Luck’s early third quarter interception against the Chiefs, fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium would see their emotions drastically shift over the next couple hours.
Not many players could usher such a comeback but Hamilton stresses that Luck isn’t your typical person.
“As a quarterback, you can’t ride the emotional roller coaster. You have to stay even-keeled. That’s one of the things that he’s always done extremely well. Don’t get too high with the highs. Don’t get too low with the lows,” Hamilton said during last year’s playoffs.
“Everybody will, once again, gravitate towards the guy that is going to ultimately lead them to victory and they have. He’s done a great job of finding ways to help us win ball games, even through the tough stretches.”
The competitor in Luck shows frustration one should expect from any quarterback immediately following an interception.
However, that frustration rarely lingers thanks to Luck making the most of him getting back on the field and delivering ice water filled drives.
“(Luck) approaches the game like a linebacker,” Hamilton said. “He wants to hit somebody. He wants to get out and be a part of it to get his blood flowing.
“There’s never been a time where I felt like his confidence was shaken. He’s always had a fighter’s spirit, that spirit of a guy that is going to pull everybody up and atone, as he would say, for the mistake that he made.”