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Chuck Pagano: Andrew Luck needs better protection

Andrew Luck again reminded us Sunday night why he's the best young quarterback in football.

Luck, as he's done 10 times in his brief career, led the Indianapolis Colts to a comeback win, throwing three second-half touchdowns to T.Y. Hilton to break the hearts of the Houston Texans.

The quarterback is playing at an elite level, but Indy continues to fall short in one of its most important objectives: Keeping Luck off his back. The Texans were credited with four sacks and 11 quarterback hits.

Overall, the Colts' line has allowed 63 quarterback hits, the third-most in the NFL. Luck has been taken down for 19 sacks, putting the team on a pace very close to the 41 sacks he took during his rookie season.

"We have to be more consistent," coach Chuck Pagano said, via The Indianapolis Star. "Toward the end of that (Houston) game, when we're making big plays, we got things blocked up. Andrew has time, he can step up and make those big plays to T.Y. (Hilton). It's just a matter of doing it down after down on a consistent basis."

The Colts made a big effort to upgrade protection in the offseason. They signed Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas in free agency and drafted Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes. Injuries have thwarted continuity, however, and the loss of Thomas to a season-ending quad injury hurt.

It was after Week 1 that Colts owner Jim Irsay demanded the Colts "protect #12 better." That hasn't happened yet, and it's leaving the Colts wide open for catastrophe.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previewed "Thursday Night Football" and "stuck a fork" in the Raiders' 2013 chances.

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