Andrew Luck Off To Career-Best Start In 2016

Intro: Through seven weeks of 2016, Andrew Luck is playing at a very high level. Where has Luck improved the most in his fifth NFL season?

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INDIANAPOLIS – A new contract, a new offense, a new and improved Andrew Luck?

Several important numbers for Luck indicate just that here in 2016.

Luck's early years in the NFL have set the bar pretty high for individual improvement.

But entering Year 5, and after a season in which Luck missed nine games and struggled when healthy, a more efficient quarterback was a goal.

Through seven weeks, Luck has been just that. And even a little more.

  • Luck is completing 64.9 percent of his passes this season. His previous career-high is 61.7 percent. Luck's career average coming into this season was 58.1 percent.
  • Luck's interception rate is 1.4 percent in 2016. That would be the lowest of his career. Last year, Luck had an interception percentage at 4.1.
  • Through seven weeks, Luck's quarterback rating is 98.3, nearly 25 points higher than last season. Luck's career passer rating coming into this year was 85.0.

Add it all up and the Colts are getting fine, fine play out of their franchise quarterback.

"He is playing at a high level right now," Chuck Pagano says of his signal caller.

It's the way in which Luck is playing that has helped keep the Colts in the AFC playoff picture despite missing their No. 2 wideout, allowing too much pressure up front (which has lessened the last two weeks) and dealing with an inconsistent defense in 2016.

Luck has protected the football well, while doing the other things that we've grown accustomed to out of No. 12.

"He's making great decisions," Pagano says of Luck.

"He's taking what the defense is giving him. He's spreading the ball around, hitting the check downs, extending plays when he has to extend plays and finding guys down the field."

Sunday was another indication of why Luck is the NFL's highest paid player.

Down three of his four top pass catchers, his starting left guard and facing an attacking Titans' defense, Luck was flawless.

It was the type of effort (353 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions) that truly separate the elite quarterbacks from being just a guy.

Through all the uncertainty Luck has turned in a performance this team has needed in 2016.

Before the start of the 2016 season, Owner Jim Irsay said the Colts needed Luck playing at an "MVP-level."

With all the bumps in the road around him, Luck has done just what Irsay said the quarterback would do this year.

"You forget sometimes, that this is still a new offense," offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski says of watching Luck operate in a different system this year. "Terminology is new, some of the things we're doing are new, some of the reads are different for him.

"He's growing into those things just like everybody else is and I see him getting better and better and more comfortable and more comfortable. I see him working through progressions. I see him making plays, extending plays when he needs to and taking care of the football along the way."

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