Well, well…here we are. As Phillip B. Wilson kindly reminded me, the Colts passed a major milestone last week.
It’s not a club record or anything like that. I guess it’s more of a made up milestone. But that doesn’t make it any less significant. Or any less true.
Former Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian used to say (and still does) that, “You don’t know who your team is until week six.” It’s something I believe and preach on a regular basis.
So, let’s review what we’ve learned about the Colts in the first six weeks of the season.
Some things you just can’t control. The NFL schedule is one of them. Part of the reason I was so disappointed the Colts had to play the Broncos week one was for the reason I just stated. “We won’t even know who they are…they won’t even know who they are.” Yes, I whined. A lot.
The Colts opened the season with two tough games against two (all but certain) playoff teams and performed admirably. Do I wish they had a do-over against the Broncos? Absolutely. But they probably will. In January.
After losing to the Broncos and Eagles in prime time games, the Colts started the season 0-2. Then, they went on to pummel their divisional rivals, the Jaguars and Titans, which put them back to even and earned them the title of “Slayer of Cupcakes.”
After bagging themselves a bird and a steak (Ravens followed by Texans), the Colts have gone from 0-2 to 4-2 and now sit alone atop the AFC South at 3-0. But with games against the Bengals, Steelers, Giants, and Patriots in the coming weeks, there will be no talk of cupcakes anytime soon. Which is unfortunate. Because I love cupcakes.
Admit it, we were skeptical in the beginning. All we heard about during training camp was the “exotic offense” the Colts were going to run. And yet, the first few games, it looked a lot like the “no coast offense” we had no love for last season. But as the weeks went on, the Colts offense started looking more and more exotic. With the war chest Andrew Luck has of finely tuned offensive weapons, we may have to start calling the Colts the “Unicorns” (which would be awesome). Because what’s more exotic than a unicorn?
3) Special Teams
If the Colts offense is a unicorn, the Colts special teams is the more rare and even more exotic pink unicorn.
Three onside kicks recovered? In six games? And all three successfully? Since when do the Colts even attempt onside kicks? The only onside kick I can even recover from my memory is the one successfully executed on the Colts in the Super Bowl by the Saints (and we don’t talk about that one). Once the bane of the Colts existence, Pat McAfee, Adam Vinatieri, Matt Overton, and the rest of the Colts “Fourth Down Army” is putting the “special” in special teams.
And who would have thought that despite losing the sackmaster himself, linebacker Robert Mathis, for the entire season…the Colts would be amongst the top teams in quarterback sacks? Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Cory Redding, D’Qwell Jackson and others have divided the work up nicely. No LaRon Landry? Sergio Brown steps in…no problem. No Arthur Jones? Ricky Jean Francois steps up in a big way. When defensive coordinator Greg Manusky says, “Next man up,” his guys don’t just walk up…they jump at the opportunity. And no, I’m not going to compare those guys to unicorns. Because they could hurt me.
It hasn’t been perfect. There’s room for improvement. And there’s a whole lot of football left to be played. But judging by Bill Polian’s theory, I can only tell you one thing: We’re starting to see who the Colts are. And the more I see, the more I like.
Now, in the famous words of Bill Belichick, “It’s on to Cincinnati…”