The Andrew Luck era has been a total success thus far in Indianapolis. The Colts are now 19-10 under Luck in two seasons, and have clinched the AFC South already.
The Colts and their fans should be pleased to have this much success early in the Luck era. After a 2-14 season without Peyton Manning, the Colts went out and selected Luck, first overall from Stanford. Few people expected the Colts to do anything, including make the playoffs last year.
In his rookie season, Luck led a team that had gaping holes on both sides of the ball to an 11-5 record and a wild card spot. This season, Luck and the Colts have defeated three top NFL teams, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle. After sitting at 6-2, the Colts have dropped three of their last five, leading to a cause for concern from most Colts fans.
Before jumping to criticize the front office, the coaching, or even the team’s star QB, you have to look at things from a different perspective. Indianapolis was the worst team in football two seasons ago. During a crazy season last year, fueled by the story of head coach Chuck Pagano’s leukemia recovery, Indianapolis was starting six rookies on offense at one point in the season. The Colts had eight 4th quarter game winning drives.
The Colts received out of this world production from WR LaVon Brazill, a 6th round pick, and WR T.Y. Hilton, a 3rd round pick. Tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener were successful rookies. Additionally, due to injury and lack of production from starters, the Colts were starting RB Vick Ballard, yet another rookie, alongside Luck.
This season, the story has been injuries. The Colts are down reliable veteran and team leader, Reggie Wayne. Dwayne Allen and Vick Ballard are out for the season. Continuing, the Colts are playing without free agent Ahmad Bradshaw and LG Donald Thomas. both Trent Richardson and Darrius Heyward-Bey have been unproductive. Right now, the Colts are missing so many offensive weapons, it would be challenging for any team to be successful on the offensive side of the ball.
Looking ahead, the currently 8-5 Colts appear to be in trouble. They will most likely finish with 10 or 11 wins, which should get them the four seed in the AFC. This sets up a first round game with Kansas City at home. A win there sets up a road game at Denver or New England.
The Colts may not win a playoff game this season. However, before anyone jumps on head coach Chuck Pagano, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, or QB Andrew Luck, do not forget that this very young Colts team has been decimated by injuries all over the field. In the future, the Colts will be a force to be reckoned with, once they fill some holes on the offensive line, get everyone healthy, and mature as a football team.