Luck threw a lot but still struggled

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts got away with not having receiver Reggie Wayne on the field in their victory over the Houston Texans on Nov. 3.

They missed him in Sunday’s 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for a season-high 353 yards against the Rams. Luck threw for a lot of yards, but he really didn’t have a good game. He threw for 260 yards in the second half when the Colts trailed by as many as 38 points.

Luck had his fourth career three-interception game. He had thrown a total of three interceptions all season heading into Sunday.

“I think I forced a couple balls,” Luck said. “They do a good job of playing zone, getting their hands on those balls, tipping them and making plays. It’s frustrating.”

Luck and the Colts didn’t handle St. Louis’ pressure well. He was 3-of-11 for 16 yards, an interception and two of his three sacks happened when the Rams rushed at least five players. Luck went into Sunday having completed 58.3 percent of his pass attempts when facing at least five rushers.

Part of the problem was due to the poor job the offensive line did with its protection and also due to the fact Luck didn’t have Wayne, his go-to receiver, to turn to. The Colts were 2-of-12 on third down and 1-of-5 in the red zone.

T.Y. Hilton led the Colts in receiving again, catching seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 130 yards. Tight end Coby Fleener was targeted a team-high 10 times, catching four for 33 yards. Luck overthrew Fleener several times.

The transition of not having Wayne on the field will remain a work in progress for Luck and the Colts. Griff Whalen, David Reed, Darrius Heyward-Bey and LaVon Brazill combined for eight receptions.

“Losing a guy like Reggie, you can’t replace a guy like that, not only his leadership qualities but his production obviously on the field,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Guys have been pressed into action and they got to respond. We’re seeing glimpses of what those guys can do, but they got to step up even further. They’ve got to raise their level of play. Their preparation has to be outstanding and they got to spend more time than they’ve ever spent.”

Luck doesn’t have much time to work with his receivers this week because they play at Tennessee on Thursday.

“There is a bit of an adjustment but there’s no excuse for not doing things or not getting better and continuing to improve,” Luck said. “Reggie was such a huge part of the offense, still is a huge part of the offense.”