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Colts add more underneath throws to let receivers use their speed after catch

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s time with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski had consisted of just one game prior to last Saturday’s contest against the Baltimore Ravens.

And that game -- Week 9 in 2015 -- was Chudzinski’s first as Colts offensive coordinator after taking over for the fired Pep Hamilton just days prior. That meant Chudzinski wasn’t even running his own offense.

The Colts gave a glimpse of what their offense can be like in Chudzinski’s own system and with Luck on the field in their 1-point loss to the Ravens.

They went away from the deep throws many have been accustomed to seeing over the years with Luck in exchange for shorter, underneath routes.

“They’ve worked really hard on that clock in (Luck’s) head,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “You can sit and wait and wait and wait and hold that thing too long. I think our guys up front, that starting unit and the couple guys that came in did a really nice job of giving him some time. He is not turning down a profit so if things aren’t there down the field, then go ahead and hit your check-down. We’ve got some guys that can make some plays if we can get them the ball in space.”

It’s not like the Colts are going to completely do away with trying to get chunk plays through the air. They'll look to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself. They’re just being more cautious in their approach on when to take shots down the field. It all goes back to the start of training camp when the coaching staff said they wanted Luck to get rid of the ball quicker so that his speedy receivers could do the work.

That was on display on the Colts’ very first play against the Ravens, when Luck threw a quick pass to receiver Phillip Dorsett in the slot. He completed an underneath pass to receiver Donte Moncrief that ended up being an 18-yard gain. There was a check-down completion to running back Robert Turbin that went for 7 yards and another underneath completion to receiver Chester Rogers that went for 8 yards.

Luck and the Colts had success moving the ball despite being without Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.

“I truly believe get the ball into a playmaker’s hands with space and you’ve got a chance,” Luck said. “Chud does a great job of designing plays to get balls in Donte Moncrief’s hands running away from someone and Phillip Dorsett’s hands and the running backs hands. Even a little check-down can be a 9-, 10-yard gain. And that’s the beauty of offensive football, when you can attack all different levels through the air and through the ground.”