When you’ve played a month of football, it is premature to label most teams as one thing or another. Through two months? At that point you sort of are what you’ve put on film. What the Colts are? An inconsistent team that has no offensive firepower, and a defense that can smother the opposition, but not for four quarters at a time.
It remains to be seen whether this team can get their act together on offense, but to this point in the season, they haven’t shown an ability to effectively run the ball, or score points against tough defenses. As a result, they find themselves where you’d expect, at the edge of playoff relevance and looking like a team primed for an early exit, should they make it into the postseason.
Facing a brutal stretch of games, Frank Reich and his offensive staff have their work cut out for them to carve this team into a contender. It certainly won’t be easy. Until they prove their offense can step up against top talent, they aren’t changing anyone’s mind about them. Here’s where national outlets have them ranked.
The class of the AFC still resides in Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, but the Colts are good enough to be a playoff team, especially with a seventh spot being added this year. Where in the AFC pecking order the Colts are is anybody’s guess at the moment, especially with inconsistent play at quarterback and in the running game. There should be a better indication of where things stand after the Colts face the Titans, who lead the AFC South, in two of the next three games.
Philip Rivers and Colts fans have the right to be annoyed by the controversial Marcus Peters interception that changed the course of Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Al Riveron said the call was “clear and obvious,” but it was surely less so to most people outside Maryland. Still, not all the sins of a frustrating loss can be put on one play. The Colts’ defense, so stout in the first half, was bested by Lamar Jackson in the second half, and the Indy offense managed just three points in the final three quarters. A disappointing loss for sure, but the Colts will find themselves back in first place in the AFC South with a win over the Titans on Thursday.
The offense didn’t do enough against the Ravens. But the defense continues to be a strong unit that is good enough to carry them to the postseason.
Amazing what a difference LB Darius Leonard means to this defense, which surrenders 135 fewer yards a game when he’s on field.
A team with an offensive line like the Colts have shouldn’t struggle to run the ball. Yet, the Colts are 23rd in rushing yards and 31st in rushing yards per attempt. When the Colts can’t run the ball, it puts more pressure on Philip Rivers to carry the offense, and that’s not Indianapolis’ best formula.
Good luck figuring out the Indianapolis Colts.
Against the Detroit Lions in Week 8, the Colts scored a season-high 41 points and looked like a legitimate threat to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South. Against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, they looked like a flawed team with a great offensive line and solid defense that just can’t score points consistently.
The Colts were moving the ball fairly effectively against Baltimore, outgaining the Ravens by almost 75 yards. But Indy converted only 2-of-12 third-down attempts, turned it over twice and allowed a defensive touchdown.
The Colts won’t have long to shake off the funk from this loss. Next week’s trip to Nashville kicks off a wicked three-game stretch that includes two meetings with the AFC South-leading Titans and a home date with the Green Bay Packers.
If the Colts play in those games like they did in Week 9, their 5-3 record could turn into 5-6 quickly.
“Philip Rivers gives the Colts a ceiling,” Gagnon said. “He and the team loaded up against inferior opponents in the first half of the season but then continually fell on their face against playoff-caliber teams. That was again the case Sunday as they laid an egg against the Ravens. I have little faith in this team and am wondering if they’ll move on from Rivers in a few months.”
AFC South Rankings
CBS Sports: 9
USA Today: 5
CBS Sports: 23
USA Today: 27
CBS Sports: 31
USA Today: 31