Indianapolis Colts 2015 Season Review

Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts injured quarterback andrew Luck yells form the sidelines during the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts injured quarterback andrew Luck yells form the sidelines during the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indianapolis Colts entered 2015 as Super Bowl favorites, but injuries doomed a promising season.

For three straight seasons the Colts finished with an 11-5 record. They won an unthinkable number of close games, picked on a weak division, and went a step further every year in the playoffs.

This season saw the Colts lose the same close games they won over the past few years. Injuries surely derailed the team, but the persistent flaws of the past became more prominent.

Make no mistake, had Andrew Luck been healthy all season long the Colts would have posted a better record than 8-8. It wasn’t just Luck either, the Colts had plenty of injuries all across the roster that slowly eroded the effectiveness of the team.

Rather than make changes in the front office or coaching staff, owner Jim Irsay decided to double down on the tandem of coach Chuck Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson. It is certainly a bold move given all the reported dysfunction between the two throughout the season. Irsay recently insisted that there is no issue between Pagano and Grigson (because why would he admit to that). We still have questions about how this relationship will work going forward, and likely won’t get any answers for the next few months.


2015: 28th in yardage (22nd pass; 29th rush) 24th points (20.8ppg)
2014: 3rd in yardage (1st pass; 22nd rush) 6th points (28.6ppg)

DVOA: 30th overall (28th pass; 30th rush)
DVOA: 17th overall (13th pass; 27th rush)

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The Colts saw their offense regress in a big way in 2015. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton created the top passing offense in the NFL in 2014, albeit one that could be inconsistent at times (partly due to being forced to play Trent Richardson, and partly to a mid-season injury to Ahmad Bradshaw). But injuries to Luck killed the potential of the Colts offense, and Hamilton paid the price.

Luck likely wasn’t even remotely healthy at any point this season. He might have been hurt in the preseason, but definitely suffered fractured ribs in the season opener (probably trying to tackle defender on an interception return). Luck played through that only to suffer a separated shoulder in Week 3. Even when he returned to the field three games later, Luck was clearly not 100-percent. And then once he was (against the Broncos) the kidney laceration happened.

Luck never found a rhythm and was never fully comfortable on the field with this offense. Given what we saw in the past, it is very likely the Colts feature one of the best offenses in the NFL had Luck been healthy all year. And while his protection was suspect, Luck absolutely has to do a better job of protecting himself in the future. That means getting rid of the ball faster, eating sacks when he has to, and sliding on run plays.

There were other issues with the offense, but this season is completely different if Luck can stay healthy.


2015: 26th in yardage allowed (24th vs pass; 25th vs run) 25th points allowed (25.5ppg)
2014: 11th in yardage allowed (12th vs pass; 18th vs run) 19th points allowed (23.1ppg)

DVOA: 13th overall (12th vs pass; 16th vs run)
DVOA: 13th overall (10th vs pass; 19th vs run)

2015 had some similarities with the 2011 season. The defense would often start games strong, keep the score close, only to have the offense fail time and again as we watch the defense slowly erode away. We saw this a lot in the final six games of the year.

What is interesting with the 2015 season is that efficiency wise, the team wasn’t that much worse overall. The changes to the defensive line helped against the run (thanks to better personnel) and there are a number of players going into their second year who played well and have a lot of potential (Henry Anderson especially).

The Colts are likely going to make some changes to the secondary (so long Greg Toler) and definitely need to do something to address the lack of a pass rush. Trent Cole was a complete bust and Robert Mathis is only going to decline further next season.

With an improved offense, this unit could have been good enough to take the Colts on a deep playoff run. A better offense would have meant better field position, and with Pat McAfee punting, that would have meant a lot of 80-plus yard drives for opponents.

Say what you will about the 2015 season, but it all comes down to Luck’s injuries. He has covered up so many flaws for this team that the Colts are more reliant on him than they ever were on Peyton Manning.

The Colts will definitely be the favorites in the AFC South next season, just by means of having the most competent quarterback in the division. With an infusion of young talent, and better injury Luck, the Colts will be right back in the mix next season.