The Indianapolis Colts sit at 6-3 as they enter the Bye Week. Today, we grade the team’s performance so far this season.
Once again, the Colts benefit from playing in the AFC South. Collectively, the other three teams in the division have played six different quarterbacks, and a seventh is about to play this week.
The Colts have a two game lead right now as well as tie breakers over their opponents. They have a 97.7-percent chance to win the division, the best in the NFL.
The team owes its success to the brilliant play of Andrew Luck and the offense this season. They have finally chucked the notion of “run to win” and feature the best passing attack in the NFL.
Editors Note: Football Outsiders uses advanced stats to rate players and teams, DVOA is value per play while DYAR is total value. Pro Football Focus grades players on a plus/minus scale with 0.0 being average.
Its hard to argue with the job Luck has done this season. He leads the NFL in yardage, touchdowns, and attempts (nearly 400). His 26 touchdowns are already more than the 23 he had in each of his first two seasons.
Luck continues to make throws that very few players in the NFL can make and does so behind an inconsistent offensive line.
Football Outsiders has him as the second best quarterback in the NFL, just behind Peyton Manning. Pro Football Focus grades Luck as the eighth best QB with a 10.2 overall (they have not been kind to him the past three weeks).
The lone complaint would be that Luck lets some easy throws get away from him and at times sails his passes. He can get off to slow starts, but generally gets settled as the game progresses. Overall, the good outweighs the bad and Colts fans grade on the “Peyton Curve” which is awfully tough.
Running Backs: B
The Colts are 14th in the NFL in yards per game, and that’s with the Colts passing the ball nearly twice as often as they run.
Bradshaw is the third highest rated running back per PFF with a 9.6 overall this season. His DYAR is 16th among running backs in the NFL, but that is only with the ball in his hands and doesn’t account for his ability as a blocker. It is also hard to understate his ability in the passing game (receiving and blocking) as well as Bradshaw’s ability to dominate the red zone.
There will be a time, whether its during the regular or postseason, where the Colts have to run the ball. It remains a question as to whether or not they have the offensive line to do so, because they clearly have the talent at running back.
Wide Receiver: B+
T.Y. Hilton has been a revelation this season, continuing the work he did to the Chiefs in the playoffs. He is the highest rated Colt on offense with an 11.2 and is second only to Antonio Brown among wide receivers in the NFL. Hilton also has the highest rated DYAR among wide receivers and is fifth in DVOA.
The Ghost is just the next in a long line of great Colts wideouts. Speaking of greats…
Reggie Wayne continues to be his reliable self, even if he has lost a step. Aside from the Cincinnati game, where he was awful due to injury, he’s been very solid. He still makes ridiculous catches and hauls in everything thrown his way, but its clear his best days are behind him after the ACL tear.
That said, the younger and healthier Hakeem Nicks looks more like the receiver at the end of his career. Nicks simply doesn’t try hard enough to get open which explains why PFF has him as the second lowest rated Colt on offense.
Nicks has been routinely outplayed by the rookie, Donte Moncrief. Moncrief has nearly identical snaps to Nicks, but has done so in half the snaps. He’s a big play waiting to happen and looks like the future for the Colts at receiver. Moncrief has a 3.4 per PFF, which is the eighth highest grade on offense.
Tight Ends: A-
Dwayne Allen is going to be one of the top tight ends in the NFL before the end of the year. He’s already fifth according to PFF and Allen ranks sixth in DYAR and fourth in DVOA. He also leads the team with seven touchdown receptions.
Coby Fleener brings the grade down a bit with his inconsistency. He’s either great or horrible. He has too many drops and often times simply doesn’t track the ball very well. If his awareness improves slightly, he’ll improve dramatically. That said, he still has four touchdowns and catches half the balls thrown his way.
Offensive Line: INC
Shipley played four games, and was rated with a 5.2 per PFF. Harrison has started the past five, and has a -6.5 including a horrible showing against the Giants this past Monday. It honestly doesn’t make sense and makes you wonder what the coaches see in the rookie.
Overall, the offensive line has played well and its the best the Colts have had since Luck was drafted.