It was always going to be a tough start for Andrew Luck on the road against the experienced Chicago Bears defense.
Things certainly weren't easy for the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, as he hurled three interceptions and was sacked three times.
However, amidst his struggles, Luck still showed he can lead a revival in Indianapolis. He finished the game with 309 passing yards and threw his first scoring strike, a four-yarder to Donnie Avery.
Early in the game it was clear Luck was having trouble settling in the pocket. Despite decent mobility, the ex-Stanford ace is clearly more comfortable as a classic pocket-passer.
The problem was that Luck was hesitating under pressure from the Bears' front four. He became indecisive while trying to decipher Chicago's coverage schemes.
Wanting to be sure is one thing, but the speed of the pro game can be cruel to rookie quartrbacks. That was a lesson harshly learned by Luck on more than one occasion.
He also displayed a worrying tendancy to focus strictly on his primary target. Opportunistic NFL defensive backs can thrive against quarterbacks who signal their intended receiver so clearly.
Perhaps the biggest problem Luck faced was inconsistent arm strength. His deep ball often fell short, most notably on a first half interception by Tim Jennings.
In fairness to Luck, the Colts weren't shy about asking him to put the ball down the field. While the Washington Redskins were easing Robert Griffin III into his debut, with several safe screen passes, the Colts were asking Luck to challenge the deep middle zones.
The positives came in the fourth quarter, when Luck was playing catch up and had obviously settled into the rhythm of the game. Two passes in particular stood out as examples of the kind of pro quarterback Luck can become.
With just under 14 minutes left in the final period, the Bears aligned in a 4-2-5 nickel front. Nickelback D.J. Moore was covering Reggie Wayne in the slot.
The Bears were showing their basic cover-2 look behind it, daring Luck to challenge them down the field. Challenge them he did, firing a deep in-slant to Wayne.
The impressive part of the play was how Luck led Wayne into the gap between Moore and the safety. That's the classic cover-2 beater and showed Luck understanding and adjusting to the challenges of coverage schemes.
On his touchdown pass, Luck again showed excellent recognition skills and a confident touch on his throw. He quickly identified single coverage on Avery and zipped a quick slant before the corner had a chance to gain inside leverage.
Luck will need that kind of quick decison-making and assured touch on his passes, to get the better of NFL defenses. He doesn't have a particularly strong supporting cast to rely on, but Luck showed enough to prove he has the talent light up scoreboards as a pro.774907