"I can't commit that many turnovers and have a chance to win against a good team like this," Luck said after dropping the divisional-round playoff game. "I'm proud to be a part of this team. Guys never quit; guys never stop fighting. We had our chances and we just couldn't get over that hump. The Patriots deserved to win."
Luck made a rash of dazzling completions against New England, but two of his interceptions led directly to Patriots touchdowns. Those mistakes obscured another monster night of production for the second-year Colts signal-caller.
No quarterback has thrown more passes in his first three postseason starts than Luck. With 331 yards through the air against the Patriots, Luck also exited the game averaging more passing yardage per start (354) than any other quarterback in NFL postseason history.
While Tom Brady was bolstered by a blistering ground attack that churned out 234 yards and six touchdowns on the ground -- leading the quarterback to call this year's Patriots a "throwback" team -- Luck, just like last week, was asked to do it all through the air. Young quarterbacks, no matter how precocious, are going to struggle in that situation.
"You can't turn the ball over against good teams," Luck said. "I wish I had learned my lesson against the Chiefs a week before, (but) didn't. The finality of losing a playoff game is very real and it stinks."
The Colts came into this season chanting about a power-run scheme that would wear opponents down, but that's not an option when your defense allows 87 points over eight quarters in January. Luck -- as promising a young passer as any in the league -- can't be asked to do it alone. These Colts still have plenty of building to do.