Colts Offensive Line Grades Poorly Despite Victory Over Titans

Gregory Shamus

The Colts offensive line had a rough game, and Andrew Luck paid the price.

Matt Grecco's weekly Inside the Numbers article is posted for Week 13, and it's great. This line really popped out for me:

The records of teams who "Run the ball and stop the run" should really give you pause. Teams win 60% of the time they don't do either.

We've blabbed over and over again here at Stampede Blue about how running the ball and stopping the run do not equate to winning football in the modern NFL. "No edge, no chance" is a complete load of horse plop.

On Sunday against the Titans, the Colts surrendered 162 rushing yards. Up until their big drive to ice the game in the fourth quarter, Indy had only 28 rushing yards of their own. Yet, despite not running the ball or stopping the run at all, they had the lead 15-14.

The reason: Turnovers. Lots of them.

If Indianapolis' passing game wasn't the utter train wreck it's been since Reggie Wayne went down in Week 7, running the ball would be an even more worthless stat. The Colts have to run because they struggle so mightily to pass, and part of the reason why is their porous offensive line.

Per Pro Football Focus, each Colts offensive lineman graded -1.0 in pass blocking and 0.1 or worse in run blocking. This basically means that the benching of Mike McGlynn for Jeff Linkenbach did very little to improve the Colts' interior line play. Overall, each lineman graded -2.4, except for center Samson Satele. He graded -3.3.

Can someone explain to me again why McGlynn was benched, but not Satele?

These grades are likely inflated because of the one, key drive the Colts pieced together in the fourth quarter, going 82 yards in 11 plays and scoring a touchdown. 9 of those plays were runs, including the touchdown, which was out of a power formation inside the five yard line.

In terms of passing, quarterback Andrew Luck was running for his life all day against the Titans. Luck was pressured on 42.5% of his dropbacks, which is completely insane if you think about it. The pressure clearly affected Luck. He was just 6-11 for 59 yards with an interception when throwing under duress.

Even more concerning is that four of the five sacks surrendered by the Colts were in non-blitzing situations. That's right. Tennessee managed to consistently pressure and sack Luck with just four rushers. When the Titans did decide to blitz, Luck was just 3-11 for 52 yards, an interception, and one sack.

Yes, a rough day for the Colts o-line. Then again, what game hasn't been rough for them? It's pretty safe to say that general manager Ryan Grigson's 2013 offseason task to keep Luck's jersey clean was Mission Fail. The line is bad, and we just need to accept this as a reality for the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

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