Andrew Luck knows life in the NFL can't be this easy for a rookie.
The No. 1 overall draft pick threw his first NFL pass for a long touchdown, just like Peyton Manning in 1998, then led Indianapolis to two more touchdowns. Luck one-upped his predecessor by winning Sunday's preseason opener 38-3 over St. Louis - Indy's first preseason-opening win since 1994.
''To get a win, get in the game and put some drives together is great,'' Luck said. ''But I realize, and the guys in the locker room realize, it's a preseason game and things will be different as the season goes along.''
Luck might have the toughest job in football this season - replacing Manning, the longtime face of Indy's franchise.
But he showed everyone Sunday that he can do whatever is asked.
Colts coaches wanted the man billed as the most polished NFL rookie since Manning to take 20 to 25 snaps. He got 24.
They wanted to keep him upright, and though Luck hit the ground twice, he was not sacked.
They wanted him to show his command of the offense, and in less than one half, Luck seemed to have Manning's playbook down pat, from the perfect baseball slide to rushing his team to the line of scrimmage so the Rams couldn't challenge a catch on the sideline.
The rookie quarterback wound up 10 of 16 for 188 yards with two TD passes and a quarterback rating of 142.6. Three of the incompletions were drops, two were throwaways, and only one pass, the deep out that rookie T.Y. Hilton barely caught on the sideline, came close to being picked off. It was the most lopsided preseason win for the Colts since a 35-0 rout of Washington in 1966.
''I know we picked him up off the turf a couple times, but he's a big, strong, athletic guy and he can take a hit. We don't want him taking too many, but to see him perform the way he did and do the things that he did under pressure, I thought he handled it well,'' new coach Chuck Pagano said.