PHILADELPHIA -- The Indianapolis Colts sent up warning flags about quarterback Andrew Luck's surgically repaired right shoulder when Jacoby Brissett replaced him for the final play -- a Hail Mary -- in the Colts' 20-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"[It] had nothing to do with [the shoulder] and everything to do getting the ball into the end zone," Colts coach Frank Reich said.
The Colts started their final drive at their own 11-yard line, and Luck dink and dunked the ball down the field to their 46-yard line. Then Brissett ran onto the field for the final play. Brissett attempted about five warm-up throws on the sideline after being told by the coaching staff before the start of the drive that there was a chance he would enter the game to throw the Hail Mary.
Brissett's throw of more than 60 yards reached the back of the end zone, where it was batted around before hitting the ground.
"It took me a second to figure out what was going on," Luck said. "But I support the decision 100 percent. Jacoby made a heckuva throw. Bought some time and got the ball there."
Sunday was just Luck's third game since he had surgery on his right shoulder in January 2017 and missed all of last season. The quarterback said at the end of the preseason that he could make all the throws necessary in a game. But having Luck leave the game brought into question whether that truly is the case.
"Jacoby has the stronger arm than I do," Luck said. "That's what I see in practice, and Coach Reich obviously thinks that as well. I'll keep working on getting my arm to where it can maybe make an 80-yard throw from the minus 30. No qualms with that decision."
The deep ball was one of Luck's strong suits before he injured his right shoulder in Week 3 of the 2015 season. He hasn't tested his arm much so far this season, as he's averaging a career-low 5.3 yards per completion. Luck finished 25-of-40 for 164 yards and a touchdown Sunday. Eighty-four of those yards came in the final quarter for Luck.
Could he make the 60-plus-yard throw before injuring his shoulder?
"To be honest, I don't know," he said. "I was never in that situation to go out and do it. And I think in this situation I don't know it could happen. I'll be honest, I haven't run around and scrambled and stuck my foot in the ground and tried to chunk it X amount of yards. Haven't felt necessary."