Suck for Luck: Week 10
Well, we learned two things this weekend: 1. The "unflappable" Andrew Luck is, in fact, quite flappable, and 2. The "Suck For Luck" sweepstakes may end up being a one-horse (er, Colt) race.
Stanford's redshirt junior suffered his first loss of the season on Saturday night, falling before a nationally televised audience to a high-octane Oregon Ducks squad. The Cardinal offensive line — something praised to no end this season — couldn't stop the Ducks' big boys up front and Stanford's defense couldn't keep up with the Ducks speedsters on the outside. Luck made several NFL-caliber passes, including a tight slant route to receiver Griff Whalen for a score late in the first half, but he also threw two interceptions. The Cardinal lost for the first time in 17 games, and Luck looked awfully mortal in the process.
The inevitable media backlash against Luck will continue to pick up steam as the season progresses, and over the weekend ESPN's Todd McShay went the "Why Andrew Luck's stock is falling" route over on ESPN.
As Luck's Heisman campaign and Stanford's BCS bowl prospects each took significant hits with Saturday night's loss, the Indianapolis Colts separated themselves from the competition with their defeat to the Jaguars in Indianapolis on Sunday. As Indy scored just 3 points and failed to secure its first W of the season, the Rams, Dolphins, Seahawks, and Cardinals — the four other teams in the "Suck for Luck" outlook last week — all won games. The Colts now have a comfortable two-game "lead" over the competition in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.
Here's the Suck For Luck Outlook for Week 10:
Andrew Luck's Weekend: 27-41, 256 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 INTs in a 53-30 loss to Oregon
For the first time all season, Luck and the Cardinal were the national TV primetime showcase on ABC, giving the much-touted pro prospect a chance to wow millions of viewers in homes across the country with his golden arm and his fleet feet. Luck played well, but failed to lead Stanford to victory, falling 53-30 at home to Oregon. Luck threw two interceptions and was sacked three times in the effort. He had been sacked just four times in the team's previous nine games.
Up next: Vs. California, Saturday
1. Indianapolis Colts: 0-10
Week 10 performance: Lost to Jacksonville 17-3: With their loss at home to Jacksonville on Sunday, the Colts became just the 10th team in the last 25 years to start a season 0-10. In one of those games that's on the smallest TV in the sports bar in the furthest corner of the room, Curtis Painter and Blaine Gabbert each threw interceptions in the first five plays. Of the 61 total first-half plays, 35 went for 2 or fewer yards. Sunday's loss, coupled with Houston's 37-9 victory over Tampa Bay, mathematically eliminated the Colts from the AFC South title chase, and their NFL record-tying streak of nine straight playoff appearances could officially end next weekend, too.
The Guy: Curtis Painter: 13-19, 94 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
On the Shelf: Peyton Manning (injured), Kerry Collins (injured), Dan Orlovsky
Would they take Luck? Yes, they'd take Luck. Will Peyton Manning still be around to see Luck wear the Colts blue and white next season? That's a much better, far stickier, situation to analyze.
2. St. Louis Rams: 2-7
Week 10 performance: Beat Cleveland 13-12: In another one that wasn't exactly one for the ages, the Rams D outlasted the Browns D in a 13-12 dogfight. A Phil Dawson field goal attempt sailed wide left with just over 2 minutes remaining, ensuring a St. Louis win. Steven Jackson rumbled for 127 yards and Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass in the victory.
The Guy: Sam Bradford: 15-25, 155 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
On the Shelf: A.J. Feeley, Tom Brandstater
Would they take Luck? No. Sam Bradford's their guy for the long haul. Recent, pre-2011 first-round draft picks like Bradford, Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Matt Ryan — guys who signed mega-contracts prior to the new CBA rookie wage scale was put in this summer — are pretty much unmovable assets. The Rams love Bradford, anyway. If they end up with a top-three pick, they'll have to consider Oklahoma State's dazzling star receiver, Justin Blackmon.
3. Miami Dolphins: 2-8
Week 10 performance: Beat Washington 20-9: Somebody break up the Dolphins! Miami's defense played up to its potential and the offense did more than enough to secure the Dolphins' first home win in nearly a year. Reggie Bush scored two touchdowns and the defense intercepted Rex Grossman twice in a gritty 20-9 win.
The Guy: Matt Moore, 20-293, 209 yards, 1 INT
On the Shelf: Chad Henne (injured), J.P. Losman
Would they take Luck? Yes, they would, but they likely won't even be in the conversation. Miami's playing like a sound, all-around football team this month, with two straight wins and a bit of momentum heading into the season's final six games. The better question is: "Would they take Barkley or keep Chad Henne?"
4. Carolina Panthers: 2-7
Week 8 performance: Lost 30-3 to the Titans: The Panthers make this list or the first time all season, falling to 2-6 after getting the doors blown off them by an angry and motivated Tennessee Titans squad.
The Guy: Cam Newton: 23-40, 212 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
On the Shelf: Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen
Would they take Luck? Nope. The Panthers brass and the Carolina fans love Newton and there's nothing but optimism for the future. With a $22 million contract, he's one of the most valuable players in the sport. I'd assume the Panthers would go defense, defense and defense with their first three picks of the 2012 NFL Draft.
5. Minnesota Vikings: 2-7
Week 10 performance: Lost 45-7 to Green Bay:
The Guy: Christian Ponder: 16-34, 190 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int
On the Shelf: Donovan McNabb, Joe Webb
Would they take Luck? Like the Panthers, the Vikings are set with Ponder as the quarterback for the future. Minnesota would likely go offensive line or defensive back with their first round selection in 2012.
Also in the Running
6. Washington Redskins: 3-6
7. Seattle Seahawks: 3-6
8. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-6
The Other Guys
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th ranked quarterbacks on my "Big Board":
3. Matt Barkley, USC: 18-for-28, 174 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT in a 40-17 win over Washington
4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: DNP
5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: 31-for-37, 423 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT in a 66-6 win over Texas Tech