Heading into the season, most people would have said the Colts were one of the teams that could least afford to lose its starting quarterback. Andrew Luck was viewed as the NFL’s next superstar quarterback, sure to sign the biggest contract in NFL history soon, while backup Matt Hasselbeck was an old man who some thought was done.
It hasn’t turned out that way.
In fact, through five games this season, the Colts are getting better results since Hasselbeck replaced the injured Luck.
Luck started three games, and the Colts went 1-2. Luck completed 56.0 percent of his passes, threw five touchdowns and seven interceptions, lost a fumble and has a passer rating of 65.1.
Hasselbeck has started two games, and the Colts went 2-0. Hasselbeck completed 63.2 percent of his passes, threw three touchdowns and no interceptions, hasn’t lost a fumble and has a passer rating of 95.0.
A big part of the difference, of course, is that Luck has played against better teams: Luck’s starts were against the Bills, Jets and Titans, while Hasselbeck’s starts were against the Jaguars and Texans. If Luck still can’t go next week, when the Colts play the Patriots, it’s a pretty good bet that Hasselbeck’s numbers will decline.
But there’s no escaping the fact that Luck got off to a very disappointing start this season, and Hasselbeck has been a surprisingly effective backup. There’s no quarterback controversy in Indianapolis, but there’s at least a quarterback oddity: The budding star has been out-played by the washed-up backup.