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NFL Power Rankings: A road win moves the Colts up the board

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Indianapolis Colts v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After the Colts put on a surprisingly good performance but ultimately fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, it was not unexpected that they stayed put near the bottom of the board. However, another good effort coupled with a win on the road against the Washington Redskins has analysts adjusting their rankings and moving the Colts up the board quite a bit.

If they are able to go into Philadelphia and get a win, they might even be able to break the top 15 next week. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s take a look at how the Colts are stacking up in this week’s power rankings.

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison ranks the Colts 22nd, up from 30th.

Huge win for the Colts, who showed they can win a game without the entirety of the affair being on Andrew Luck’s shoulders. The winning formula at Washington: an established ground game, short Luck passes and the best defensive football we’ve seen from Indianapolis in a looooooong time. Indy stonewalled “All Day” all day. Adrian Peterson averaged fewer than 2 yards per carry. Washington’s running backs, as a unit, gained 22 yards on 16 carries. When was the last time a Colts defense pulled off something like that? Like 1958?

ESPN ranks the Colts 25th, up from 29th last week.

Andrew Luck is completing 79 percent of his passes in the fourth quarter this season, second best in the league behind Ryan Fitzpatrick (92 percent). Luck was 8-of-9 with a TD in the fourth quarter in Week 2 to seal the win against the Redskins.

Nate Davis of USA Today has the Colts ranked 20th, up from 30th last week.

Rookie Darius Leonard is league’s leading tackler after two weeks and emerging as play maker Indianapolis defense desperately needed.

Bleacher Report had the Colts up to 20th from 26th last week.

There was a theme to Week 2 in many games across the NFL. Style points were in short supply.

Ugly wins were not.

The Indianapolis Colts were the beneficiaries of one of those unattractive victories. In spite of a pedestrian effort by Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, Indy controlled Sunday’s matchup with the Washington Redskins for most of the game.

The reason was a Colts defense that gave up yardage but not points. Spurred by a monster effort from young linebacker Darius Leonard, the Colts shut Washington tailback Adrian Peterson down and held the Redskins out of the end zone. That opened the door for a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton that salted things away.

It’s not an effort that’s going to frighten the other teams in the AFC South. But before you can run, you have to walk. Bad teams become better by figuring out how to hold on to leads.

The Colts couldn’t do that in Week 1, but in Week 2 they got the job done.

Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports ranks the Colts 21st, up from 29th.

Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard had 15 solo tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defensed on Sunday. The preseason provides a lot of misleading information, but anyone who saw Leonard play in August could tell the second-round pick was a steal.