Happy New NFL Year! It is the March Madness of the NFL. Legal tampering and free agency is well over a week old and it started off with quite a bang for some teams, including former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders and his former teammate, running back Le’Veon Bell to the New York Jets, and not to mention the huge trade that sent WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
And although these big name signings and teams were bringing the month of March “in like a lion”, the Indianapolis Colts were, and still are, very quiet in the trade talks.
The Colts, who currently hold the most salary cap space for the 2019 season, have little movement going forward. Listening to many of his pressers and interviews, it should not be a shock that Colts’ GM Chris Ballard didn’t have any plans to sign any huge names or make big splashes. And there is nothing wrong with that, in my humble and honest opinion.
Despite a tough loss last weekend against the number one seed in the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts are looking forward to bigger and brighter days in the 2019 season.
And although this team ended their season sooner than later, I believe they will be great contenders in the seasons to come.
But as for now, there are a few things to look out for in the offseason.
Who will stay and who will go?
Free agency will quickly be upon us. And just as soon as the clock strikes 4 pm EST, some big trades will be happening. Names like kicker Adam Vinatieri, wide receiver Chester Rogers, safety Mike Mitchell and guard Mark Glowinski are just a few on the list of free agents. Names like these were definitely considered playmakers this season, and lots of decision making will have to happen.
It was the second largest comeback in NFL history.
Back in January 2014, the Indianapolis Colts recorded a major AFC Divisional win in Indianapolis against the Chiefs. A team that was trailing by 28 points early in the third quarter, with a little “Luck”, the Colts claimed victory by a final score of 45-44 and a ticket to the AFC Championship in New England.
This season, these two teams are completely different. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes is leading the AFC’s number one seed to the divisional round after a well-deserved bye week. This has been their first number one finish since 1995. Andy Reid’s team finished the season 12-4 and 7-1 at home. The Chiefs also have the best offense in the league. With that being said, they also have one of the worse defensive lines.
As we all know and love, fairy tales start off with a “Once Upon A Time” and end up “…and they lived happily ever after.” And there is no doubt in my mind that the Indianapolis Colts are quickly becoming the perfect Cinderella story of the season.
During the preseason, Colts were ranked #32. News that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was back after a season ending shoulder injury, but was the team improving as well? Was Luck not going to be the same? Was Colts’ GM Chris Ballard making all the right moves?
The Tennessee Titans had a tumultuous year, with injuries, weird wins, and stupid losses. They beat “good teams” like the Philadelphia Eagles and lost to “bad teams” like the Buffalo Bills. (Sorry to my original hometown team, I still love the Bills).
And then there is the Indianapolis Colts who just seems to be the Tennessee Titans’ kryptonite, at least when quarterback Andrew Luck is playing.
The Titans can’t figure out how to beat Indianapolis when Luck is at the helm. Now the Colts are moving on to the playoffs and the Titans are cleaning out their lockers.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints, and a Houston Texans loss to the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts were the sixth seed. In order to secure a playoff spot, Indianapolis has one more task at hand on Sunday Night Football: beat the Tennessee Titans or simply go home.
This Sunday means everything to this 9-6 team. With a win over the Tennessee Titans, they will earn a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2014. With a Titans loss, Colts will secure the sixth-seed and earn a wildcard spot. Here is where it gets interesting, with a win over Tennessee, and if the Houston Texans lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts will be crowned as the AFC South Champs.
This situation is also mirrored for the Titans, who are also 9-6 and are behind the Colts.
When you lead the league in tackles, 146 to be exact, as a rookie linebacker, have 7 sacks, are coming in second in tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and are seventh in pass breakups, fans would assume this individual is going places in the NFL. This would include being selected to the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando.
According to Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, “Three bodies vote on Pro Bowlers: Coaches, players, and fans. Necessarily, primetime broadcasts have a big influence on all three groups. How many primetime games did the Colts get in 2018? One: Thursday Night Football on Oct. 4, vs. the Patriots. (And it was the lone game Leonard missed this season due to injury).”
“This is my second home.” Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton tells the media after a victory over the AFC South Division leading Houston Texans. And course, what a game performance from Hilton!
For the seventh straight season, Hilton has at least 800 receiving yards, making this the longest active streak in the NFL. Also, Hilton broke a tie with former Colts’ WR and Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison for the most 150 yard receiving games in the Colts’ franchise history.
On Sunday vs the Texans, Hilton caught 9 of 12 targets for 199 yards. “He’s a baller, man. He’s a baller. It’s always an honor to play with.” Colts QB Andrew Luck tells Colts.com reporter Jake Arthur. “We all know T.Y.’s a tough guy. Sometimes the best packages come in small sizes.”
After Sunday’s AFC South Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the jury is out on if the Indianapolis Colts can actually make a wild card playoff appearance. Although there are still 4 games left in the regular season, chances now appear to be diminishing.
On Sunday’s matchup, it appeared to be the Battle the Defenses as the Colts only allowed the Jaguars 211 total yards. (132 passing and 79 rushing).
Defensive end Denico Autry led with seven solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and four quarterback hits. Autry has become one of the first Colts’ to pick up three sacks since defensive end Robert Mathis in 2013. Although Indianapolis did not get their needed divisional victory, the defensive line kept Jaguars backup quarterback Cody Kessler and company from the end zone and forcing two field goals.
Yes indeed, who would have even guessed that this Indianapolis team that started off the season with a rocky 1-5 start would go on with a 5 game winning streak, a great offensive line and unbelievable defensive rookies making a name for themselves?
The Indianapolis Colts are sure making headlines in more than one way after defeating the Miami Dolphins at home in a nail-biting, and at times ugly 27-24 win. Although the sackless streak for Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck ended, Luck is still making history.