The Colts have been a hard team to pin down through 6 weeks of this NFL season. At times the defense has looked spectacular, and at others they have struggled to get consistent pressure and limit offenses. Offensively, the team has been all over the map. They are a running team that can’t run the ball all that well, and they haven’t had a passing attack to speak of.
After their week 6 comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals with the help of a good performance from Philip Rivers and a second half resurgence of their defense, the Colts head into their bye week looking like a team that can make the playoffs, but might struggle to do much more. Here is how they look in this week’s power rankings.
Most impactful injury: RB Marlon Mack
Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the first half of the Week 1 game at Jacksonville. The plan all along was for Mack to be the starter and for rookie Jonathan Taylor to get significant carries behind Mack, but Taylor has been forced to carry the bulk of the load out of the backfield. The rookie out of Wisconsin has shown flashes but doesn’t have Mack’s consistency yet. Taylor, who leads the Colts with 367 yards rushing, struggles at times turning upfield when there’s a lane to run through. The Colts, who were seventh in the NFL in rushing last year, are 26th in the league this season with 98 yards per game.
Now that’s the Philip Rivers the Colts paid for. The veteran passer delivered a vintage performance against the Bengals, throwing for 371 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-27 comeback win. Sure, he also had a vintage Philip Rivers interception that kept Cincinnati’s hopes alive in the fourth quarter, but on balance, it was an excellent performance that backed up Frank Reich’s vote of confidence last week and sends the Colts into their bye on a high note at 4-2. Rivers was unconscious as the Colts slashed away at a 21-0 deficit in the second quarter, finishing 14-for-21 with 235 yards and two TDs in the period. It was the most yards he’s accumulated in any quarter in his career.
So Philip Rivers can still take over a game. He was outstanding against the Bengals. The defense has waned the past few games, which is not a good sign.
If you had to guess who league’s leading scorer was, probably be quite some time before you got to undrafted Indianapolis rookie K Rodrigo Blankenship ... who’s basically made everyone forget about Adam Vinatieri.
It’s a bit of an odd stat, but Philip Rivers became the oldest quarterback since Earl Morrall in 1974 to lead his team to a regular-season win after it trailed by 21 points or more (via NFL Research). Rivers got a lot of grief for a poor game at Cleveland, and he deserves a lot of credit for how well he played to save what would have been a bad loss to Cincinnati.
The Indianapolis Colts rebounded from last week’s loss to the Cleveland Browns with a four-point win that moved them to 4-2 on the season. But to do so, they needed to mount a second-half comeback after spotting a one-win Bengals team a 21-0 lead.
That ugly start notwithstanding, the Colts have to be pleased with the offense’s performance, particularly quarterback Philip Rivers. The veteran signal-caller had drawn some criticism after a shaky performance against the Browns, but Rivers had his best game Sunday since joining the Colts, finishing with 371 passing yards and three scores.
Over the early part of the season, the Colts defense carried the team to victory. In Week 6, it was Rivers and the offense’s turn.
The Colts will have the bye and a winnable Week 8 tilt with the Detroit Lions to tighten things up before a four-game stretch that will go a long way toward determining whether they’re a legitimate contender. They have a home date with Baltimore in Week 9 followed by two matchups with the undefeated Titans sandwiched around a visit from the Green Bay Packers.
AFC South Rankings
CBS Sports: 28
USA Today: 27
CBS Sports: 5
USA Today: 3
CBS Sports: 30
USA Today: 29