As the Colts ride a 3 game winning streak, they are slowly beginning to change perceptions about them around the league. They are unlikely to suddenly catapult themselves into the upper echelon of the league with just one win, and they are operating on pretty thin margins from here on out, but they have been consistently doing some things really well that have led to their success.
The ability of the offensive line to protect Andrew Luck has been a big key to their success, and has now effectively done so against to very good defenses in the Bills and Jaguars. With a great pass protection plan in front of him, I’d take Andrew Luck over any quarterback in the NFL and we will get to see over the coming weeks whether that translates to extending this winning streak and making a run at the division.
For now, let’s take a look at how the Colts are stacking up in the eyes of national news outlets.
ESPN has the Colts ranked 20th, up from 23rd last week.
Defining stat: 4. That’s the number of sacks the Colts have totaled over the past five games to fall all the way down to being tied for 23rd in the NFL in that category on the season. The drastic plummet in the rankings came after the Colts looked like they would be one of the best in the league when they had 17 sacks after the first four weeks of the season.
It is also the number of weeks Andrew Luck has gone without being sacked.
Yahoo! Sports has the Colts ranked 18th up from 22nd.
The NFL’s best story that’s not getting enough attention is, strangely, Andrew Luck’s comeback. Has everyone forgotten more than a year-and-a-half of speculation over whether Luck would ever be the same? He’s back to a Pro Bowl level.
USA Today has the Colts ranked 21st up from 27th.
Dearest mother — Andrew Luck hasn’t come under enemy fire once (sacked) in Indy’s last four engagements. The men truly love their commander.
Bleacher Report has the Colts ranked 19th up from 25th.
Don’t look now, but the Indianapolis Colts are on the fringe of NFL relevance.
After hanging on to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10, the Colts have won three in a row to get back to within a game of the .500 mark. Granted, it hasn’t come against the league’s best (teams with a combined record of 9-15), but that winning streak has the team within two games of the division-leading Texans.
The Colts will have a chance to insert themselves even more into the conversation in the division over the next month. Sunday’s win marked the beginning of a five-game stretch that includes four divisional games—including a home date with the red-hot Titans next week and a trip to Houston in Week 14.
”What quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Eric Ebron are doing deserve far more credit,” Sobleski said. “Due to their current performance, it’s easy to forget Luck missed all of last season with a shoulder surgery, while Ebron was considered a full-blown draft bust. Now, Luck is second in the league with 26 passing touchdowns, and Ebron leads all tight ends with nine receiving touchdowns. Not too shabby.”
”Andrew Luck has been sacked 10 times in nine games! Think about that,” Gagnom wrote. “The Colts have finally found a way to protect Luck, who has put together strong performances in three consecutive victories. Indy’s defense still has a long way to go, but with Luck this team truly has a shot at the playoffs in the AFC.”
The Colts are generating more than a little run, but there’s precious little margin for error.
That’s what happens when a team starts a campaign with five losses in six games.
NFL.com has the Colts ranked 18th up from 21st.
While I did pick the Jaguars to win in Indy, it’s hard not to root for the Colts right now. After so many tough-luck losses early in the season, including the late Jack Doyle fumble against the Bengals, the red-zone failures in Philly and the fourth-down debacle against the Texans, Indy was due. The Colts have now won three in a row. Other than maybe the Saints, their offensive line is playing at a higher level than any unit in pro football.
Stat of the day: Indy’s front five hasn’t allowed a sack in five straight games.
Stat of the day II: Andrew Luck has attempted almost 200 throws during that time.
The Rest of the AFC South
USA Today: 12th
Yahoo! Sports: 10th
Bleacher Report: 10th
USA Today: 11th
Yahoo! Sports: 13th
Bleacher Report: 13th
USA Today: 24th
Yahoo! Sports: 22nd
Bleacher Report: 21st