Andrew Luck: 'I'm not playing as well'

Quarterback places blame on himself for sputtering offense.

Andrew Luck’s self-assessment never seems to change.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback speaks, first and foremost, of wanting to have a “clean game” come Sunday on the road against the Tennessee Titans.

While the Colts are still the NFL’s No. 1 passing offense and Luck has contributed a career-high 4,601 of the 4,747 pass yards, his turnovers are up from last year. And he knows it.

He’s been intercepted 16 times and lost six of a dozen fumbles. That’s twice as many turnovers as he had all of last season. It’s also one shy of his rookie total in 2012.

“I think what I need to see from myself is a clean game, no turnovers, productive drives, points,” he said Tuesday. “I think as an offense, same thing. No turnovers. No penalties, not shooting ourselves in the foot.”

While Luck has taken fewer sacks (26) this season (compared to 73 combined in his first two years), it’s still a high number. And he’s taken at least 90 hits this season, based on gamebook reports.

He will never blame anyone else for what’s wrong with an offense that managed just seven points and 229 total yards, both season lows, in a 42-7 loss at Dallas last Sunday. The week before that, the Colts set previous season lows with 17 points and 278 total yards in a 17-10 win over Houston at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts have started nine different combinations on the offensive line. Luck as well as head coach Chuck Pagano admit that can complicate developing chemistry, but again, nobody will use the shuffling as an excuse for a lack of performance.

The NFL average is 348.7 total yards per game. The Colts have surpassed that total 11 times. In the four games they haven’t hit that mark, they’re 1-3. And it’s occurred three times in the last six games.

In the Colts’ first nine games, they generated at least 400 total yards in all but one. Since then, they’ve hit that mark only once in six games.

“I don’t know if I can pinpoint things,” Luck said.

That was Pagano’s initial response when asked about Luck’s declining numbers recently: “I don’t know.” The coach then elaborated by saying it’s never about one man, that it takes 11 in an offensive unit to achieve, that the quarterback always gets too much praise when the team is rolling and too much blame when it isn’t.

“I guess, simply, I’m not playing as well,” Luck said.

Pagano pulled Luck in the third quarter of a lost cause last Sunday, when the quarterback passed for a career-low 109 yards.

Luck expresses confidence that the Colts have enough offensive talent to snap out of it. Modest if not significant improvement should be expected Sunday, considering the Titans (2-13) are tied for the NFL’s worst record, have lost nine consecutive games, and the Colts dismissed them 41-17 in Week 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But that was when the offense was clicking. It sure doesn’t look the same now.

“We’re all pros in this locker room, we want to go out and win, no matter what’s at stake, no matter where the game is and when it is,” Luck said. “To go out and play well, yeah, that’s a priority.”

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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