As astutely pointed out by ESPN Insider contributor Scott Kacsmar (subscription), Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the league’s winningest quarterback at 34-7 (.829) when his defense is actually somewhat respectable–specifically in games allowing less than 29 points:
Some of that can be attributed to the fact that when the Colts have gotten beat with Andrew Luck starting under center, the team has frequently been blown out
Specifically, in 4 of Luck’s 20 career regular season losses (20%), the Colts have been blown out by 29 points or more.
Particularly, the Colts defense has struggled against superior quarterbacks and passing attacks that are found outside the friendly confines of the AFC South.
Namely, Luck has a 17-2 (.895) career regular season record against the AFC South and is 18-18 (.500) against everyone else–having had no 29 point blowouts against his divisional counterparts.
That’s not to say that the defense is solely to blame.
Against elite competition, the Colts offense has routinely gotten off to slow starts, while also committing 1st half turnovers which has placed the team’s defense in unfavorable positions from the get-go.
That being said, the Colts defense has given up 25.5 ppg (25th), 23.1 ppg (19th), 21.0 ppg (9th), and 24.2 ppg (21st) from 2015 to 2012 respectively despite Chuck Pagano being a defensive minded head coach.
While some of that is the lack of young talent Pagano has been provided with on defense, as the Colts have used predominantly their draft picks on offense, his secondary has routinely struggled against the NFL’s better quarterbacks and passing attacks as mentioned.
That’s something that simply has to change going forward if the Colts want to be considered a legit contender and make a deep playoff run, as there’s a major difference from being AFC South and Super Bowl Champions.