One of the hallmarks in Indianpolis over the past 12 years has been a simple, yet complex offensive, allowing defenses to 'dictate' what they want to do, and then ripping their hearts out, throwing it on the floor, and stomping on it till they die (if you can name what song thats from, I will marry you). Another Hallmark of the Bill Polian era has been injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Football Outsiders, one of the advanced statistic sites that is favoured by dem dere stat geeks, has just released their 2009 Adjusted Games Lost.
Just the relevant information, because I don't want to steal their thunder: The Colts had the second most AGL in the league, at 90.4. (The Bills were #1 with 97.7) As a sidebar, the Saints were #4 with 80.4, although, if I'm not mistaken, one of the key differences is, that, other than Jamaal Brown (I believe thats his name), their starting LT, they haven't had many season ending injuries. Their defense was quite banged up during the year, but most have been able to heal for the playoffs.
Again, this is a testiment not only to Bill Polian's ability to draft well (and give the Colts better depth than any of the 'experts' realize), but also to Peyton Manning's ability to eat babies for breakfast and still have room for opposing teams for dinner. Manning, and the offense in general, have shown for the past decade+ the ability to overcome weaknesses elsewhere. In 2006, during the regular season, when the Colts were unable to stop the run to save their lives, Manning and the offense put up obscene drive:TD ratios. They changed their philosophy from the 2004 shootout Colts to the 2006 ball-control-you-can't-stop-us Colts.
Yet another reason to celebrate the 2009 Colts. They have adapted to a new head coach, a new defensive coordinator, a new special teams coach. They have fought through the 2nd most injuries in the league. They were even able to overcome The Cushion playing significant time most of the games this year.
If the Colts can ever stay healthy for a full 19 games, look out, league.