And, forgive the objectivity, the Colts nearly lost their opener at home to Oakland, struggled twice with Tennessee and at Houston (which finished 2-14) and on top of the Miami, St. Louis and Cincinnati losses, stunk it up on a Monday night in San Diego (19-9) and fell 40-11 at Arizona. The great news Saturday was the second-biggest comeback in NFL history. The bad news: The Chiefs led 38-10 without Jamaal Charles.
Yes, the Colts' defense ranks no better than 20th, while they're tied for 20th in rushing. And yes, Luck lost a mentor and go-to receiver, Reggie Wayne, for the season on Oct. 20. But seriously, is Luck having Jordanesque impact? His QBR ranked 11th last season but did improve to ninth this season (while falling from 65 to 62). Does that, as my "First Take" debate partner Stephen A. Smith says, qualify Luck as a "game-changer who just oozes greatness"?
Maybe I'd be more sold if Luck acted more like a star. Maybe so many rush to lionize Luck because he's just so ordinary-Joe likeable. He seems impossibly unassuming and humble, and with that mountain-man beard of his looks more like an offensive lineman than a quarterback. This is as starless a star as I can remember.
I was on record before Luck's draft that Robert Griffin III would prove to be the better NFL QB. He certainly made me look right last season with his 20 TD passes to just five interceptions, fifth-in-the-NFL QBR, division title and 14-0 lead over Seattle in his first playoff game before aggravating, then wrecking, his knee. But this season, RG III made the Luck-lovers beam when he let his stardom go to head, rushed back from knee surgery and forgot how to play quarterback.
Now the tortoise has overtaken the hare.
The day the Colts eased Peyton out the back door in favor of Luck, I said they were making a monumental mistake. The NFL is a win-now business and Peyton, I said, would give the Colts a better chance of winning a Super Bowl for the next three seasons (last year, this year and next). For the second straight year, Peyton has lifted Denver to a 13-3 record and potentially two home playoff games, this time with a record-shattering 55 TD passes and 5,477 yards.
But last year, of course, Peyton's postseason record fell to 9-11 and he lost his third straight playoff game thanks to a Hail Flacco that forced the overtime in which Peyton threw the killer interception.
Advantage, Andrew? Maybe he IS just blessed and destined. Maybe I'm asking for it to dare to doubt this kid as he returns to face the Patriots (my Super Bowl pick) and the pretty-boy quarterback who got Eli-ed twice in Super Bowls.
Maybe, late Saturday night, you'll tell me, "Told you."