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Who or what is most to blame for the Colts struggles in 2018?

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have struggled to have success in 2018. The first two weeks provided some hope that the young unit could outperform expectations but four straight losses have dampened that confidence. Each week Indianapolis finds itself within reach of a victory but something happens that turns the tide the other way.

Against the Bengals in Week 1, the Colts were efficiently moving the ball on a potential game winning scoring drive when Jack Doyle fumbled away the ball — which was subsequently returned for a touchdown.

Against the Eagles in Week 3, numerous penalties were called on an a fourth quarter touchdown drive that gave Philadelphia the lead with just over 3 minutes to play. The Colts took the ball down to the 4 yard line and threw a fade to T.Y. Hilton in the end zone that he couldn’t haul in. Luck was subsequently sacked for a 16 yard loss on 4th down, sealing the loss.

Against the Texans in Week 4, the Colts went on an offensive tear in the fourth quarter to tie the game and take momentum into overtime. They were unable to drive for a touchdown on the initial possession of overtime after 4 of Luck’s final 6 passes on the drive fell incomplete. After Houston tied the game, Frank Reich tried to convert on a 4th and 4 in his own territory and failed. Houston used one passing play and spiked the ball to set themselves up for a game winning field goal.

Against the Patriots in Week 5, the Colts were in a position to mount a successful comeback in the second half but a fumble by Jordan Wilkins and an interception by Andrew Luck gave the ball back to New England when Indianapolis couldn’t afford to lose possessions.

Finally, against the Jets in Week 6, a pick-six off of a deflected pass to start the game was a bad omen. The offense coughed the ball up multiple times, including three Andrew Luck interceptions, giving the Jets a short field. Jason Myers hit 7 field goals and New York won by 8.

This has left fans scrambling for answers and to a great deal of frustration. What needs to happen for Indianapolis to turn its fortunes around? Who or what is to blame for losing these games?

Fans helped provide the answer.

There is no doubt that injuries have played a large role in the team’s struggles. Marlon Mack has finished only one game healthy in 2018. Anthony Castonzo started and finished his first game of the season against the Jets. Multi-talented offensive lineman Joe Haeg is on the injured reserve, as is veteran starting right guard Matt Slauson. Denzelle Good, who was a front runner to start at right tackle, has missed much of the season due to injury.

Pro Bowl receiver TY Hilton has missed the last two games. Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle has missed four games. Starting safety Clayton Geathers missed the Jets game and his starting caliber backup Matthias Farley has been placed on the injured reserve. Starting defensive tackle Denico Autry has missed three games and Margus Hunt went out against New England and hasn’t returned. Even rookie linebacker Darius Leonard missed a game due to injury against the Patriots. Other members of the Colts starting secondary have missed games this year.

All of these missed games and injuries take a toll on a team — particularly a young one.

The other glaring issue has been dropped passes. Missing many of the team’s top targets this year has certainly not helped the issue but the drops have stopped offensive drives and weakened what has been an impressive performance by Andrew Luck in his return from injury in 2018. The Colts are tied for second worst in the league with 13 dropped passes through six weeks.

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