Andrew Luck’s 2017 season wasn’t. Just a year after signing a six-year, $140 million dollar contract and becoming the league’s highest-paid player, he missed the entire season. Some said his shoulder was shot. More controversy came when Josh McDaniels ditched the head coaching job at Lucas Oil Stadium. Was Luck’s shoulder really that bad? Was his career over?
But in his first game in 616 days, Luck threw for a career-high 39 completions. Through 15 games this season, Luck has thrown for 4308 yards, 36 touchdowns, and led three game-winning drives. At just 29, he looks to be a likely Comeback Player of the Year candidate. His last game this season, one in which a playoff berth rests on, is against the Tennessee Titans. Luck is undefeated in 10 games against the Titans. The Colts have also won eight of their last nine. This is all by a player who wasn’t able to throw a regulation size football until Memorial Day this year.
That’s not to say that Luck isn’t without his competition. DeShaun Watson, the second year quarterback out of Clemson, had the Houston Texans positioned in the no. 2 seed and headed for a first-round bye until his defense choked this weekend. Watson was one of the most electric players in his seven games last season. He bought into Houston and the city quickly fell in line behind him. Then, he tore his ACL for the second time. Houston’s season crashed there. Coach Bill O’Brien got a pass for that season but almost didn’t make it through this one as the team started out 0-3. A nine-game win streak followed. Now, they sit at 10-5 with one game left against the horrific Jacksonville Jaguars and a playoff berth clinched. Watson has 26 touchdowns by air and four by land.
Watson’s teammate J.J. Watt is also in the mix. At an age where players normally fall off a cliff, nevermind ones with his injury history, Watt is going through a renaissance. His 12.5 sacks are third in the league. That’s coming after playing in only eight games over the last two seasons. He’s there every week, recording a sack in all but two games since week three. Defensive Player of the Year will likely go to LA Ram Aaron Donald but if it wasn’t for his monster of a season, Watt would be the favorite for DPOY. All three are likely to play in January. But come February only one will have the trophy and it’s likely to be Luck.