Andrew Luck -- like the rest of us -- has watched the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense punish quarterbacks since he was a child. Unlike the rest of us, the Indianapolis Colts rookie now prepares to face them in the flesh Sunday night.
Pittsburgh's trickery will be simplified, the blitz packages tempered, but it's a taste of what's ahead for Luck this season. He showed poise in a productive debut against the St. Louis Rams, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn't see Luck as just another first-year passer.
"I thought he played really well," Tomlin told The Associated Press. "I don't mean played really well for a rookie. I thought he played really well."
Luck will be hard-pressed to reproduce his debut 188-yard, two-touchdown performance. The Steelers' top-ranked defense from a season ago also led the NFL against the pass. Another advantage: They square off against a familiar face in Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who called the Steelers' attack for the past five seasons before being shown the door in the offseason.
"It'll be fun," Luck said. "I realize every defense is good in the NFL, in my mind. But to have a chance to go against a great historical defense, a great franchise, with a great fan base, will be fun."
Luck might define "fun" differently than the rest of us, but the matchup here is intriguing. Pull away the preseason stink, and it's still a confrontation between a nasty defense and the rookie quarterback being asked to fill Peyton Manning's shoes. We're glad this one's on "Sunday Night Football."
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.