There are any number of reasons why the Colts are currently 4-1 and one of the top teams in the AFC.
A surprising defense is one of the key reasons. The Colts' defense, specifically the secondary, has played extremely well over the last three weeks, especially at key times. The Colts have are just 16th in yards per drive, but are fifth in third down conversion percentage, eighth in turnovers forced per drive and ninth in points allowed per drive.
The Colts' running game is also surprisingly effective, currently ranking second in the league in running DVOA, something we never ever would have expected after the Colts' inability to run the ball last season.
T.Y. Hilton looks to be back, Reggie Wayne has been a possession monster and Robert Mathis is having one of the best starts to a season ever. Don't forget Cory Redding and Antoine Bethea as well, who have been the motors behind the defensive resurgence.
But there is one main reason why the Colts are legitimate Super Bowl contenders right now. One reason that branches over everything and makes it all come together as wins. He's the reason why the Colts allowed the greatest quarterback ever leave. And right now, you can't even be upset about that.
Andrew Luck is currently performing like a top five quarterback. It's his second year in the league.
He's breaking all the rules, all the traditional expectations for young quarterbacks. And yet, somehow, we're still overlooking it.
Andrew Luck is currently playing like the second-best quarterback in the AFC (a notch above Philip Rivers) and is one of the top seven quarterbacks in the league through five weeks.
The numbers bear it out: Luck is 7th in DYAR, 8th in DVOA, 4th in total QBR, 3rd in PFF's grades, 4th in EPA and 5th in WPA.
He's the most efficient scrambler in the NFL and he does things in the pocket that defy logic.
He has a QBR of 97.6 on third down, better than anybody else in the league. Yes, better even than Peyton Manning (90.2).
And he has the Colts at 4-1, with signature wins over two of the NFC's elite teams.
It is completely unprecedented. The rest of the young, impressive quarterbacks from last season have been emphatically left behind.
Through five weeks, Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the league. Then you have Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Then there is Luck, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan all fighting to be included in the top five.
I'll take Andrew Luck, thank you.
Tom Brady? The lack of weapons hurts, but Brady isn't playing well right now. The elite, ring-toting Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Eli Manning (it's a disservice to mention Roethlisberger with those other two, but we're going with it)? A combined 3-11, and all three have looked downright bad.
Don't take this as a slight to the other members of the Colts. They've played better than most expected, as a whole. But the Colts are 4-1 because Andrew Luck is playing better than any second-year quarterback ever should.
Just how special it is to watch can't be overstated. We'll continue to praise other Colts, and they deserve that. But Andrew Luck is something else entirely.
Going from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck is, quite frankly, impossible.
The chances of one fan base having that kind of fortune are mind-blowing. Don't take it for granted. The Colts potentially went from one top five quarterback of all time to another. Yes, it's early, but what Andrew Luck has done in his first 21 games makes that comment completely believeable.
Ok, now go re-read those last two sentences.
That's crazy talk. Abso-freaking-lute crazy talk. You can't talk about a quarterback's potential for greatness like that after 21 games. You just don't do that.
Well I'm doing it.
Because I believe it.
I miss Peyton Manning sometimes. But man, oh man, I am all-in on Andrew Luck.