DeForest Buckner 52 total pressures, 9 sacks
DeFo had his best season in a Colts’ uniform this season, and was by far the best defensive lineman and the reason that the team broke the franchise sacks record. He was a force in the interior and racked up the 13th most total pressures and 5th most rushing stops among interior defensive linemen. He even was without sidekick Grover Stewart for one third of the season, yet did not miss a beat. He continues proving Ballard right for trading the 13th overall pick for him a couple of seasons ago.
Jaylon Jones 475 coverage snaps
Jones was a seventh round rookie, who was probably not supposed to be in the starting lineup for most of the season, yet because of injuries and of his solid play he earned those almost 500 snaps. Now while he did have his fair share of struggles, as is the case with every rookie cornerback, I believe that Jones impressed a lot, and he will battle Dallis Flowers for the second outside cornerback spot next year.
Starting offensive line play over 85% of snaps
The offensive line was among the biggest reasons for the Colts’ terrible season last year, but they had a bounceback and other than some minor injuries to Ryan Kelly and injuries to Braden Smith, the starting offensive line played every single snap. Under new assistant coach Tony Sparano Jr. the line was much better, also thanks to the improvement of starting right guard Will Fries and Bernhard Raimann. Keeping your franchise quarterback upright is essential in the long run, and hopefully the Colts’ excellent offensive line play continues.
Colts 9-8, miss playoffs on final week for second time in three years
This is the Colts’ second winning season in the past three seasons, yet we never made the playoffs. Even with starting quarterback Anthony Richardson I did not expect more than 7 wins, and when he went down my optimistic prediction was at five/six. The Colts won nine and were really close to even making it to the playoffs as the division winners. Yes, this season might sting, but there is a silver lining in all of this and it is that the Colts will get a draft pick 8-10 spots higher in a really deep class, and will get a third place schedule next season compared to the Texans who will go up against much tougher opponents.
Matt Gay 26th in FG percentage, 18th in FG >50 yards
The Colts gave Matt Gay the highest contract in free agent history, and after a scorching hot start it was underwhelming to end the year up to the point where my faith in him making a kick over 50+ yards was dramatically low. It might have something to do with this son being born in the middle of the year, and there were some holds by Rigo that I (definitely not a specialist on the subject) thought were a bit off.
Downs 7th among rookies in receiving yards
Even despite the passing offense being mostly focused on MPJ, and that he had to play with two quarterbacks, Josh Downs finished the season 7th in receiving yards among all rookies, not bad for a 3rd round pick, and he most certainly will be the Colts’ slot wide receiver for the future. He came in to replace Parris Campbell, and just in his first year he was more productive than Parris’ best season as a Colt.