Indianapolis Colts Last Seasons Performance
The Indianapolis Colts narrowly missed the playoffs in the 2021 season, finishing with a 9-8 record. They started the season slowly, losing their first three games, but worked themselves back into a possible playoff spot. They lost their last two games, one to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had the worst record in the NFL, and it coast them. It was a terrible end-of-the-season collapse that sparked a need for change.
The defense was the team’s strength, as it saw three players reach the Pro Bowl. It was one of the reasons the Colts ended up in so many close games. Running back Jonathan Taylor led the league in rushing, having 552 more yards than the second-place RB. He became one of the league’s most dynamic offensive players in his second season.
Quarterback Carson Wentz stats showed that he didn’t have a terrible season, throwing for 3,563 and 27 touchdowns with 7 interceptions. But in each game he had erroneous throws, missing reads or overthrowing receivers leading to dropped interceptions. These miss throws are not counted in the stats, but made a seemingly decent season look much worse.
Indianapolis Colts Key Additions
The quarterback was a clear spot on the roster that needed improvement. Wentz made mistakes, and in big games they were more apparent. Indy traded for Matt Ryan, one of the most consistent quarterbacks over the last decade. At 37 years old, he is closer to the end of his career, but last season he still played well with 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns, leading a subpar Atlanta Falcons to a 7-10 record.
With an already stellar defense, the Colts added two new possible playmakers. The Colts traded for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue from the Las Vegas Raiders and signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore as a free agent.
Ngakoue started his career great, becoming a Pro-Bowler in his second season but has slowed. Last season he began to get back to his former success, finishing with 10 sacks. Gilmore won the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award and hasn’t slowed. He will be 32 years old for the 2022 season but has been a Pro Bowler in the last four seasons, still making it last year after just playing nine games.
Indianapolis Colts Key Subtraction
A lot of the Colts; depth departed this offseason, leaving in free agency or retiring. They had a long list of departures, but many of them were not crucial aspects of the roster, and have been replaced.
The offensive line may be the position that took the most losses. Two crucial players who left were Mark Glowinski, who started 14 games last year, and Chris Reed, who played in 14 games but only started six. The wide receiver room also took a big hit with Zach Pascal and T. Y. Hilton leaving the team. They only combined for 61 receptions, Hilton, currently a free agent, had been a constant within the organization and Pascal was a solid third receiving option.
On the defensive line, they lost Al-Quadin Muhammad and Kemoko Turay were second and third in sacks but left in free agency. Safety George Odum also left the team after coming in sixth in total tackles.
The Colts did make two trades, dealing Wentz to the Washington Commanders to make room for Ryan, and corner Rock Ya-Sin, who started just eight games, for Ngakoue.
Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Analysis
Head coach Frank Reich has been the Colts’ head coach for five seasons. After an impressive first season in 2018, winning 10 games and one playoff game, the team has struggled to get that far again. In 2020, Reich led the team to 11 wins but lost in the Wild-Card Game.
Reich got the Colts’ head coaching job off an impressive 2017 as an offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, winning the Super Bowl. He also got the best out of Wentz that season, who could have won the MVP if he didn’t tear his ACL. If anyone could have gotten the best out of Wentz, it would have been Reich last season, but he couldn’t. With Ryan now running his offense, he should be able to experiment more in the passing game.
Indianapolis Colts Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
The Colts’ 2021 season was not littered with massive injuries. Within the season, the biggest name to miss time was guard Quenton Nelson, spending four weeks on the IL early.
However, in the offseason, All-Pro and Pro Bowl linebacker Darius Leonard had back surgery, placing him on the PUP list. As of right now, he has been listed as out but could return for Week 1. Safety Rodney McLeod has also been placed on the PUP list with an undisclosed injury. He signed with the Colts over the offseason but, when healthy, will be one of the starting safeties for the team’s secondary.
Indianapolis Colts Offense
Last season the Colts had arguably one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, headlined by Taylor. The team finished fifth in the league in rushing attempts and second in total yards. Taylor will be better headed into his third season, behind an elite offensive line.
With Ryan now at the helm, the passing game will be more consistent, keeping drives alive longer. As an accurate high ball thrower, tall receivers in Michael Pittman Jr., Mo Alie-Cox, and second-round rookie Alec Pierce, all over 6-foot 3, will be key to the passing game’s success.
Ryan will also be the best offensive line he has had in years, allowing him time to find the right pass every play. With the mix of the Colts’ already elite running game, now paired with a much better passing game, the offense could push to be within the top 10 in the league.
Indianapolis Colts Defense
Last season, the Colts’ defense stood out and was one of the best in the NFL at times. Three players reached the Pro Bowl, DeForest Buckner, Leonard, and Kenny Moore. The linebacker core of the defense was the team’s backbone, with Bobby Okereke and Leonard combining for 254 tackles.
Against the rush, the defense was dominant, allowing the third fewest rushing touchdowns all season. The team mustered up 33 sacks all season, but Ngakoue should change that, having 10 sacks last season, which would have led the Colts if he was on the roster.
The secondary was the team’s weakness last season, ranking 19th in total passing yards, but second to last in passing touchdowns given up. Gilmore will help lock up one side of the field and Moore is a quilty nickel corner, the issue is the second outside corner. That is a position that the opposing team may pick on till someone proves themselves.
Indianapolis Colts Special Teams
The Colts’ special teams were average. They started the season with kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, but after suffering a hip injury in Week 5, they signed Michael Badgley. Blankenship is the starting place kicker after recovering from his injury. He had a solid rookie season in 2020 making 86% of his field goals.
Rigoberto Sanchez has been the mainstay for punting and had a solid season, having 24 punts downed within the 20-yard line. Sanchez has also taken on the kickoff role, with 49.4% of his kickoffs being touchbacks.
Isaiah Rodgers and Hines were the primary punt and kick returners. Neither brought one back for a touchdown last season. Hines has shown he can be explosive out of the back field as the backup running back, so will likely keep his role.
Indianapolis Colts Prediction for the 2022 Season
Last season the Colts had a team that should have been in the playoffs. However, in the last two games of the season, they collapsed.
The offense replaced an inconsistent, mistake-prone quarterback, Wentz, with Ryan, who is pretty much the opposite. That alone should significantly boost the team and turn the close losses from last season into wins. They added two more playmakers on defense, which should bolster an already strong unit.
This team looks like the frontrunners in the AFC South. With a talented roster and a quality coaching staff, it gives them a chance in every game. In a division with four easy wins over the Jaguars and the Houston Texans, 10 wins should be the minimum for the team, but shooting for 12 or 13 might be more likely.
Indianapolis Colts Final Thoughts
When the Colts get into the playoffs, they might be one of the tougher teams to beat. They can run the ball on anyone, have a quarterback who won’t make mistakes, and a defense that will hold its own. If they take an early lead, they might just run the ball into the ground bleeding away the clock.
If it wasn’t for the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts could look like prime Super Bowl contenders. They still are, but the issue is that both the Bills and Chiefs have two of the most dynamic passing games, which happens to be the biggest weakness on the Colts defense.
Still, the Colts are in a Super Bowl window and anything can happen. They have one of the best rosters in the AFC, and if they stay healthy, by the end of the season they could be a team making noise. The last two Super Bowls have been quarterbacks who went from poor teams to elite teams, Ryan could be next.
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Indianapolis Colts FAQs
1. How many times did the Colts go to the Super Bowl?
The Indianapolis Colts have been to two Super Bowls, in 2006 and 2009, winning in 2006 against the Chicago Bears. However in 1984 the team moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore. While in Baltimore, the Baltimore Colts went to three Super Bowls in 1964, 1968, and 1970, only winning in 1970.
2. Did Andrew Luck screw the Colts?
After six seasons in the NFL Andrew Luck retired out of nowhere at 29 years old right after a preseason game. It threw the 2019 season into chaos, which ended with a 7-9 record, the only losing season under Reich. Since then the Colts have struggled to find a franchise quarterback replacement, jumping from one stopgap to another. Luck left the Colts in chaos.
3. What is the future going to be like for the Indianapolis Colts?
The Colts have built a solid young foundation behind Taylor and Leonard on both sides of the ball. It has allowed them to be in a win-now window, allowing them to feel secure starting a 37- year-old quarterback in Ryan. However, Ryan is on the downturn of his career, so looking to find a replacement might be crucial soon.
4. How many Super Bowl rings does Peyton Manning have?
Peyton Manning has won two Super Bowl rings in his 18-year NFL career, one in 2009 with the Colts and the other in his final season in 2015 with the Denver Broncos. With the Colts, he led the team to two Super Bowls in 2006 and 2009, winning in 2006 with the Super Bowl MVP. He won the league’s MVP in 2009 but lost the Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints.