Andrew Luck didn't have the prettiest numbers in the Indianapolis Colts' 26-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, but there's mounting evidence the No. 1 overall pick will be an immediate contributor in his rookie season.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano told NBC's Michelle Tafoya at halftime that Luck has "amnesia" on the football field. Pagano was referring to Luck's pick six in the first quarter, a play in which he stared down Reggie Wayne and threw off his back foot, gifting cornerback Ike Taylor with the easiest six points of his life.
It was a bad play -- your classic rookie mistake -- but Luck never lost his composure. He could be seen on the sideline telling offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, "I (messed) up." He put his helmet back on, then led the Colts to two touchdowns and a field goal in his last four series. He might have scored on all four drives if not for an ugly case of butterfingers by wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
This guy's the real deal.
Some other takeaways:
» It was tough to stomach the sight of Austin Collie walking into the tunnel, preparing to undergo more concussion tests after taking a forearm to the helmet from Larry Foote. As ProFootballTalk.com's Evan Silva pointed out, Collie could be dealing with his fourth concussion in 15 months. Have we seen Collie in a NFL uniform for the last time?
» It will be interesting to see if Foote has a FedEx envelope sitting on his stool in the near future. The shot on Collie wasn't egregious, but it certainly fit the description of a defenseless receiver whose forward momentum had stopped.
» Antonio Brown had the play of the game: An impressive 57-yard catch-and-run in which his punt-return instincts took over. Brown got some great blocking on the play as well, including the work of Baron Batch, who polished off two Colts inside the 5-yard line. Brown capped his mad dash with a somersault into the end zone, captured beautifully by AP photographer Don Brown.
» Wonder if Mike Wallace was watching?
» Drew Stanton, the quarterback the New York Jets signed, then quickly dumped after acquiring Tim Tebow in March, led the Colts on a nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. He now has more touchdown passes this preseason than Tebow and Mark Sanchez combined.
» No offense to Dan Hicks, who is a versatile and highly competent announcer for NBC. But was anybody else jonesing for some Al Michaels? Thought so.
» Vick Ballard couldn't even stay on his feet at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he showed something against the Steelers. Some good strong running, including a TD run that was wiped away by a suspect official review.
» Antoine Bethea is proof the Colts didn't strip all their useful parts during their demolition stage. The underrated safety stepped in front of Ben Roethlisberger pass for a nice interception in the first quarter.
» As Smart Football's Chris Brown pointed out on Twitter, Luck's rushing TD came on a zone-read triple option. An athletic play, though Luck should've been ruled down short of the goal line.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.