Luck takes the blame for Colts loss to Patriots

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Luck takes the blame for Colts loss to Patriots

FOXBORO -- Andrew Luck angrily ripped at the chin strap of his helmet as he walked off the field. He had just thrown his second interception of the night, which was returned 87 yards for a score by Patriots rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

One play into the fourth quarter, New England led, 45-17, and the game was effectively over.

Luck would later add another a third interception to his list of blemishes, which included a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown by new Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, and a fumble that was recovered by the Patriots in the third quarter.

"Just blame myself for committing four turnovers on my part," Luck said after losing to the Patriots, 59-24. "And two of those for immediate touchdowns. But the Patriots did a good job."

New England's defense showed improvement in the win, but it was provided with opportunities to make big plays in large part because of the mistakes made by Indianapolis' rookie quarterback.

Luck's first interception, picked off by Talib, was an overthrow in the middle of the field. The Dennard interception was an out-pattern intended for Reggie Wayne that was thrown late.

Luck nearly caught Dennard during the return but dove and came up with nothing. On the sideline he was stopped by interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians for what looked like a pep talk for the crestfallen 23-year-old.

It wasn't.

"Fundamentals. I mean, you can't throw an out pattern late," Arians responded bluntly when asked about his conversation with Luck. "We talked about it, and he was mad at himself. That's the beauty of it. He'll come up and tell you exactly what he's thinking . . . It was something that he knew he couldn't do, and he did it anyway. I don't think he really thought that Reggie was gonna be there clean and he threw it out there. The throw was late and inside and you can't do that."

Arians did provide a glass-half-full perspective on Luck's day. He was the Colts quarterbacks coach in 1998 when rookie Peyton Manning played in Foxboro for the first time and threw three interceptions in a 29-6 loss.

"It was a lot better day than when Peyton Manning came up here for the first time," Arians said. "I was there that day."

Luck was 27-for-50 for 334 yards and two touchdowns. It was his fifth game of the season with 300 yards passing, breaking the record for 300-yard games as a rookie.

He also made a few plays that provided a glimpse into his potential, proof as to why he was selected with the first overall pick in this year's draft, and why he's so widely renowned through just 10 games as a professional.

In the first quarter, he made a pinpoint throw to TY Hilton in the middle of the field to beat Talib for a 14-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, he completed a 16-yard pass in a third-and-long situation with Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich draped on his back.

"Andrew has got all of the abilities, physical, mental, leadership-wise," said Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who has played with both Manning and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during his career. "He is turning into a very good -- a very, very good -- quarterback, and he's gonna continue to grow and get better. He's fun to watch. Obviously we got a young team and we all make mistakes, but it's enjoyable watching him play because I know that at any given time he can go and put a bunch of points on the board. I love having him on my team."

The Colts can live with the plays that make Luck want to rip his chinstrap in half. But Luck had hoped to avoid them on Sunday, knowing he would have to be sharp to keep up with the Patriots.

Instead, Luck's first performance against Brady, a quarterback Luck has watched for years, was far from the dream scenario he might have conjured up as a kid.

"It sucked tonight," Luck said, "because we lost by however much."

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.