The talk around the league is the match-up between number one overall draft pick Andrew Luck and eight overall pick Ryan Tannehill come this Sunday. Both QB’s are playing very good football, both QB’s match statistically, and both QB’s are leading a team with a 4-3 record. In addition, both QB’s are being heralded as legit playoff contenders. Not by some quirky gimmick play but because they are playing sound ball.
This Sunday’s match-up between the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins should be all about Luck and Tannehill. When the game clock begins to tick however, it will not be either of these QB’s who will decide the outcome. That job will be on the supporting cast.
It’s very possible that Luck and/or Tannehill could have a horrible game but the better chance is that the offensive line for one or the other doesn’t play up to par. It’s a better chance the defensive line plays harder for one team than the other. The point is that while Luck and Tannehill are the center of attention, it really comes down to which team wants their QB to come out on top more than other.
For example the Colts are playing for more than pride. They have rallied behind the diagnoses of HC Chuck Pagano’s cancer treatment and have used that motivation to lynch two victories out of the NFL schedule. Pagano is doing better and while the Colts can only run so far on the Pagano illness, they have proven they are capable of stepping up to the plate for a family member.
This week that rally cry could be around Andrew Luck. Luck was the number one overall selection last April and with that comes an enormous amount of pressure, responsibility, and expectation. Don’t think for a minute that the offensive line, the WR’s, and the running backs don’t want him to have a better day than the rookie across the field. At the same time, the Colts defensive secondary and front line will want to keep Ryan Tannehill at bay as well. Doing their part to shut down the early career rival of Luck.
On the other side of that field, the Dolphins players will likely be doing the same. Fighting hard to prove that their QB is better than the No. 1 overall.
When the kick-off is underway, the two rookie QB’s will battle it out without ever touching the field at the same time. Tannehill will not beat Luck one on one anymore than Luck will beat Tannehill. So while the press want to talk about Rookie Vs. Rookie the real battle will be conducted in the trenches and the outside where receivers will fight corners in an attempt to make each players QB look better and the other worse.
On Sunday night we will likely be talking about what QB made the most plays or was sacked the most times. Which QB threw more interceptions and which one through more TD’s. Just remember, the winner of this game will also likely be the one who was sacked and pressured the least. Tough game with a singular focus on the most popular position, but a game that more likely will be more important to the guys fighting for, well, their guy.