Belichick Has Great Respect for Luck

New meets old when Andrew Luck faces off against Tom Brady

By Ryan Wilson
|  Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014  |  Updated 10:44 AM EDT
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Belichick Has Great Respect for Luck

AP

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Colts and Patriots haven't played since November 2012, when New England trailed 14-7 early before cruising to a 59-24 victory, which, it turns out, was the worst of Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck's two-year career.

On Saturday night, the two teams meet again, this time in the AFC Divisional game.

"Not a lot of good," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said about that last matchup. "Obviously (I) watched it from afar last year. Obviously you're going to look at it and see what they did. You have to cover all your bases."

And Luck, who has emerged as one of the league's best quarterbacks this season, echoes the sentiments of his coach.

"I think they did a great job of creating turnovers, forcing turnovers, which they still do, great job at getting at the quarterback. ... We know it's going to be a dogfight and looking forward to it," he said. "This is what the playoffs are about."

As for the 2013 Patriots, a team that went 12-4 despite injuries at key positions on both sides of the ball, Luck is in awe.

"Phenomenal football team," he said. "They do a great job of disguising their defenses. Everything seems to look at the same. You blink for a second and it's completely different and you screw up."

But the glowing evaluations go both ways; Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered this assessment of Luck, the former first-overall pick out of Stanford.

"A really complete player," the coach said. "Great long-ball thrower, very accurate. Reads defenses well, does a good job checking plays at the line of scrimmage and making some of those adjustments. Hard guy to bring down, good feet. Can scramble and run. Can scramble and buy time to throw. Has good vision down the field. There's not really any weaknesses to his game."

Patriots safety Devin McCourty agreed.

"I think he just keeps getting better. He's able to throw the ball down the field -- really anywhere on the field -- and I think what really makes him good is that he's mobile. … I think everyone already knows he's a really smart guy back there."

As for Tom Brady, an old hand when it comes to playoff games, he has one thing on his mind: winning.

"My motivation is pretty simple. I just try to win, that's what I try to do and try to be part of the reason why we're successful," he said. "That's part of doing my job and trying to be the best I can be for the team. It really doesn't have anything to do with anybody on the other team and what their motivation might be.

"To be a professional athlete and to play at this high level with this level of competition, winning is the only thing that's important," he continued. "That's one goal and one objective that I've had for a very long time."

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