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Power Rankings Week 4: Gritty Performances Getting Colts Noticed

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Through three weeks of the NFL season, the Colts have proven to be exactly what many of us expected them to be. A talented, well-coached team that can withstand a lot of adversity. Withstanding the surprising retirement of Andrew Luck, a slew of injuries, and two opening road games, the team has risen to the occasion and starts the season with a 2-1 record.

If not for Adam Vinatieri’s rough start, this team could be looking at 3-0 against tough opponents, and they have begun to get some notice from national media as they string together gritty wins. Their offensive balance and a defense which is capable of generating turnovers, this team isn’t going away any time soon.

What’s more, Jacoby Brissett played as well as he has in his time with the Colts on Sunday, and if that play continues, a lot more buzz will be generated from this team as the season rolls on.

So what are the national media saying about the Colts? Let’s take a look.


ESPN has the Colts holding at 17th.

This was a weird one from ESPN. Apparently they were discussing “what they got wrong” from preseason, which is why Andrew Luck is the focus of Mike Wells’ blurb.

What we got wrong: That quarterback Andrew Luck would be the Week 1 starter for the Colts.

So much for that. Luck went from dealing with a calf strain in the spring to a high-ankle injury in training camp to working out in front of everybody before the second preseason game on Aug. 17 to retiring from the NFL at the age of 29 a week later on Aug. 24 after it appeared he was working his way back to be ready for Week 1. Luck cited four years of “pain, rehab cycle” that started with a right shoulder injury in Week 3 of the 2015 season as the reason for his retirement.

USA Today has the Colts up to 14th.

They didn’t get their second win until Week 7 last year. Continued emergence of RB Marlon Mack has really helped stabilize this offense.

Yahoo! Sports has the Colts at 13th.

Losing safety Malik Hooker for 4-6 weeks due to a torn meniscus was the downside of Sunday’s win. Hooker has been very good when available, but he hasn’t stayed healthy for a full season yet.

NFL.com has the Colts up to 13th.

Jacoby Brissett is no hold-the-fort guy. The Colts quarterback might just be a legit player for the Colts to build around. We knew Indy believed in their Andrew Luck replacement when they ripped up his contract and doled out a generous new deal on the eve of Week 1, and Brissett has made his team look smart. The 26-year-old QB completed his first 16 passes against the Falcons on Sunday and finished with 310 yards and two touchdowns. The highlight came on third-and-4 with less than two minutes to play. Instead of running the ball to take time off the clock and attempt a field goal to go up six, coach Frank Reich put his faith in Brissett, who connected with Jack Doyle on a game-icing first down. Brissett will never be as dynamic a player as Luck, but he doesn’t need to be on this well-coached, well-balanced team.

Bleacher Report has the Colts ranked 13th.

When Andrew Luck stunned the NFL by announcing his retirement, most people assumed that the Colts were finished as playoff contenders.

As it turns out, maybe not.

The Colts have been one of the grittier teams in the league over the first few weeks of the season. Every game has been a closely contested affair. And for the second time in as many weeks, Indy held on and won.

The most impressive thing about the win over the Falcons wasn’t Marlon Mack and the ground game—it managed just 79 yards and 3.3 yards per carry. It wasn’t the defense either—the Colts gave up almost 400 yards and nearly squandered a 17-point halftime lead.

No, the star in Week 3 was quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who posted his first 300-yard passing game of the year and threw two touchdown passes without a turnover.

These might not be the Colts we expected, but they aren’t going away in the AFC South.


AFC South Rivals

Texans

ESPN: 10

NFL: 12

B/R: 7

Yahoo!: 12

USA Today: 9

Jaguars

ESPN: 22

NFL: 18

B/R: 20

Yahoo!: 21

USA Today: 23

Titans

ESPN: 19

NFL: 22

B/R: 23

Yahoo!: 22

USA Today: 20