Colts Run Over?


If there is one thing we know about sports, it’s that nothing ever lasts. A team that has been at the bottom of the standings for a few years will invariably rise at some point in time and become an at least somewhat successful sports team (unless we’re talking about the Los Angeles Clippers). The same is true for teams that display an ability to remain at the top of the standings, they eventually decline. And well, people who have been waiting for the Indianapolis Colts to finally hit a wall and take a step back, seem to think that this is the year that it will happen. But is that a fair assessment?

When the Colts brought Tony Dungy on board in 2002, they brought him in because they thought he would be the man that would fix the defense and get the team to a Super Bowl. Dungy not only got the team to a Super Bowl but he helped them win one during the 2006 season. And although he retired following the 2008 season, his influence has remained on the team as his successor Jim Caldwell comes directly from the Dungy coaching tree.

Jim Caldwell and Tony Dungy have helped Indianapolis accumulate a 99-29 win loss record since 2002 and two Super Bowl appearances. The defense has not been great during this period of time, but they have been good enough on most occasions to complement the explosive Colts offense.
The Colts offense is still quite potent this season while most will argue that the defense has taken a step back in comparison to years prior. When looking at the statistics, they seem to support that notion. The Colts have given up a staggering 711 rushing yards through five games, which is third worst in the NFL. On average, they are giving up 142 yards on the ground to their opponents, which limits the amount of possessions that they are able to get in games. Indeed, Indy has only managed to outscore their opponents 136 to 101 points on the season; where in seasons past, we expected a bigger differential. This should signify that the apocalypse has started in Indianapolis right?

Not quite. Does anyone remember the twilight of Jay-Z’s career? Of course not, because it has not yet happened. Hip hop fans expected the rap mogul to eventually lose popularity and become the elephant in a room filled with talented artists that have surpassed him. And yet he is still at the top of his game today. The Colts resemble Shawn Carter in that sense. They have managed to be a very successful franchise in the past few years; and now that they have been faced with a little bit of adversity, some are starting to believe that they are headed for a fall from grace.

As bad as the Colts run defense has been this year, the team can win games in spite of it. The Colts run defense has long been the team’s Achilles heel and yet they often managed to overcome it. Have a quick look at the stats below:

Year
Rushing Yards Allowed
Rushing Yards Allowed/G
Team record
2009
2,024
126.5
14-2
2008
1,966
122.9
12-4
2007
1,711
106.9
13-3
2006
2,768
173.0
12-4
2005
1,762
110.1
14-2
2004
2,037
127.3
12-4
2003
1,980
123.8
12-4
2002
1,992
124.5
10-6
TOTAL
16,240
126.9
99-29

Indianapolis has made the playoffs every year since 2002 and even won the Super Bowl in 2006. And you will notice that the Colts worst run stopping season was the year they actually won the Lombardi trophy (2006).  Heck, if you compare Indy’s output this season to years passed, they are actually on par with what they have done in the Dungy-Caldwell era:
Year
Points Per Game
Points Per Game Allowed
2002-2009
26.7
19.3
2010
27.2
20.2

 Given the fact that Indianapolis’ offense is still performing like it has in previous years, perhaps it is unwise to write off Peyton Manning especially this early in the season. There is still a lot of football left to be played this season and tons of time for the Colts to get back to their consistent winning ways. I fully expect Indy to right the ship and build off the momentum of their win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although some keep waiting for that other shoe to drop, the truth is, it might not be time…..just yet.

1 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Get out of here dude.....Colts are DONE!

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