Andrew Luck enjoyed an almost unprecedented career renaissance in 2018 and the NFL rewarded him accordingly.
The league named him its Comeback Player of the Year on Saturday. He beat out Houston Texans edge rusher J.J. Watt and Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson rather convincingly. Luck garnered 44 of the 50 possible votes for the award.
Andrew Luck has been named @NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) February 2, 2019
Luck put together a stellar season amidst uncertainty as to whether he would ever be the same again. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback missed all of last year due to shoulder surgery and didn’t throw a single pass for more than 18 months. But he finished the 2018 regular season with 4,593 passing yards and 39 touchdown throws. The latter was second in the league to eventual league MVP Patrick Mahomes and was the most for a player who missed the previous season in NFL history.
His exploits under first-year head coach Frank Reich helped the Colts return to the playoffs for the first time in four years. The team did so by winning nine of their final 10 games after getting off to a 1-5 start. They subsequently went on the road in the wild-card round and defeated the Houston Texans before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs one week later.
Solid quarterback play is, in many respects, a product of the offensive line’s performance. Over the past few seasons, that was among the most significant weak links on this team. But general manager Chris Ballard proactively addressed the issue in the off-season. As a result, Luck went from one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league to one of the least. The Colts tied the New Orleans Saints for the fewest sacks allowed per game this year.
Luck’s return to greatness might be the beginning of bigger things to come for this franchise. Indy owns the most cap space heading into 2019 than any other NFL team. As a result, this team looks like it’s going to be a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl out of the AFC over the next few years.
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