BY NICK ST. DENIS
The Indianapolis Colts drafted quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 overall with every intention to make him the franchise guy Day 1. The Miami Dolphins took quarterback Ryan Tannehill at No. 8 out of necessity and initially planned to let him hold the clipboard for much of the season.
But at the beginning of November, both players are nine regular-season weeks into leading their respective offenses, and both are 4-3. That, coupled with their Week 9 matchup, cues the inevitable comparisons. Let's break it down:
Types of support. Luck has better help in the passing game simply because of one guy -- Reggie Wayne. However, Tannehill has a better run game and defense to help him along.
Shot-calling. The Colts lean on Luck's arm more than the Dolphins lean on Tannehill's. Luck has attempted 288 passes to Tannehill's 203. Even with Tannehill missing most of Week 8, that's still a decent gap. Luck has eight touchdown passes and eight picks. Tannehill has a 4-to-6 TD-to-INT ratio.
Efficiency. The Dolphins have been more selective with Tannehill, which has resulted in a solid 59.1 completion percentage and 7.3 yards per attempt. That bests Luck's 55.6 completion rate and 6.8 yards-per-attempt average.
On the run. Somewhat surprisingly, Luck has done a lot more with his legs than the former receiver Tannehill. Luck has rushed for 143 yards, 14 first downs and three touchdowns. Tannehill has only gained 25 yards, four first downs and one score on the ground.
Sack effect. Luck has been sacked 18 times for 110 yards. Tannehill has been taken down 13 times for 118 yards. That means Tannehill loses an average of three more yards per sack than Luck. That can be attributed to Luck's awareness in going down quickly when a sack is inevitable.
Thoughts for Sunday: The NFL would be best served if Tannehill was healthy enough to go, as fans would be treated to an intriguing bout between two young, impressive signal-callers. The Dolphins have a distinct advantage defensively, but both QBs will be out to prove something.
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