INDIANAPOLIS — Growing up, Andrew Luck kept trying to emulate the quarterbacks he watched on Sunday afternoons, guys like Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers.
And Tom Brady.
Now, the 24-year-old franchise quarterback is all grown up and about to face his next big test — trying to beat Brady on his home turf with a trip to the AFC championship game on the line.
“I think there are so many quarterbacks that do so many great things that as a quarterback you’d like to watch all of them and say, ‘They do this so well,’ and see if you can do that,” Luck said yesterday.
His next chance comes Saturday night when the Colts (12-5) travel to New England (12-4).
Luck has already done his part to live up to the seemingly impossible standards that came with replacing Manning in Indy. The two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up spent two college seasons being called everything from the most polished college quarterback since Manning to the most promising quarterback prospect at Stanford since John Elway.
Luck just focused on playing his game and the results have been impressive.
He has thrown for more yards (8,196) in his first two seasons than any quarterback in NFL history. His 22 regular-season wins rank No. 2 to Russell Wilson among all second-year quarterbacks since 1970, and with nine career TDs rushing, he already ranks fourth on the franchise’s career list behind only Manning (17), Bert Jones (14) and John Unitas (13) — all previous MVPs
Even when it comes to measuring up to Manning, Luck has done remarkably well.
In October, he beat Manning in their first head-to-head meeting. And after rallying Indianapolis (12-5) to the second-greatest comeback in playoff history last weekend, Luck’s first postseason win came four seasons sooner than Manning’s. A win over the Patriots (12-4) would give Luck the same total of playoff wins over Brady than Manning — one. But that’s not what motivates Luck.