As a precocious rookie, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been instrumental in engineering Indianapolis' dramatic turnaround from a 2-14 season (that allowed them to draft the former Stanford star) to an 11-5 record. Running an offense that demands a lot from him-- in terms of reading defenses and lacking a top-flight running game to complement him -- Luck has completed 54.1 percent of his throws for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Although he ranks 31st in completion percentage in the NFL and 26th in passer rating (76.5), Luck is on a roll recently with five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Colts' last three games. "Really not so much the numbers as the way he has played," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I think he's been very steady all the way through the season. He obviously has cleaned up the interceptions a little bit. A lot of those ones earlier were just flukey things that happened. He's very smart. When you watch him, this is something even when talking with Jim [Caldwell], he's better than you even think. "He's got a better arm than you want to think. He's stronger. He's faster. He's got more rotation on the ball. He's more accurate than you really want to think watching the tape. He's just a really talented guy. Plus, he's a first-class human being. They have their quarterback for a long time to come." More than rushing for five touchdowns and being tough mentally and physically, the Ravens see a lot of intangibles and intelligence from Luck. "He's led the team the way a quarterback is supposed to lead the team," Ravens free safety Ed Reed said. "Getting into the playoffs your first year, making every throw and being patient in the pocket -- those things right there are essential for a quarterback to be patient in the pocket. And, he understands it. He works it. I know he goes to the Peyton Manning quarterback camp. "So, I wouldn't be surprised if they talked a little bit this week. But, just his understanding of the game. You could see that Andrew understands the game. Just from clips, I know he is a smart guy from watching him and having coach [Jim] Harbaugh the year before last year at Stanford with him, I know that helped a lot as a quarterback to quarterback learning the scheme of things."
Jamie Squire, Getty Images