Nobody is harder on Andrew Luck than the Colts quarterback himself.
Now that the Colts are in an 0-2 hole as they prepare for an AFC South road game Sunday at Jacksonville, Luck is ever mindful of the mistakes he’s made so far.
He was quick to blame himself Wednesday for throwing three interceptions. His fourth-quarter interception in Monday’s home loss to Philadelphia — a controversial turnover because intended receiver T.Y. Hilton drew contact from cornerback Brandon Boykin on the third-down pass — prevented the Colts from attempting a field goal and taking a 30-20 lead.
Luck had 18 interceptions as a rookie, and made a conscious effort in his second season to take better care of the football. It showed, as he reduced the INTs to nine.
“I don’t think you need to freak out and go start wholesale changes just because you’ve made some mistakes,” Luck said, “but you also realize you can’t repeat those mistakes at the same time.”
Question is, have the Colts learned from the mistakes made in losing 31-24 at Denver and 30-27 to the Eagles? When watching those game films, Luck admits the interceptions jump out at him.
“I’m disappointed in myself and frustrated with myself for doing that,” Luck said.
If there’s a modest upside to Luck’s stats so far, he’s completing 63.2 percent of his passes (55-of-87), an improvement from 60.2 percent last season and 54.1 percent as a rookie. But he understands his first priority is not throwing the ball to the other guys.
In his four starts against Jacksonville, Luck has completed 60.4 percent of his passes (87-of-144) for an average of 270 yards with five TDs and three INTs.
The Colts are 18-8 against the Jaguars, including lopsided wins in the last three meetings — 30-10 at home and 37-3 at Jacksonville last season, and 27-10 at Jacksonville in 2012. But the Jaguars, outscored 75-27 in two road losses this season, have played the Colts tough in the past. They swept the series in 2011, then won at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012.
The two-time defending AFC South champions realize the next challenge is vitally important. The message is simple: “Don’t panic.”
“You have to be able to move on,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said, repeating what he said to the players.
He added an oft-uttered perspective when times have been tough in the past.
“There’s no pity parties in football and nobody feels sorry for the Colts,” he said.
Since 1999, the Colts have started 0-2 only one other time, when they lost the first 13 games in 2011 while Peyton Manning sat out the season due to neck surgeries.
“Certainly we’re not going to sit there and dwell on the past and what could have been,” Pagano said of the unsuccessful start.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.