Even though the Colts’ season ended in lackluster fashion on Saturday night, they should still be proud of what they accomplished this season.
Last season they were 4-12. They had the third worst record in the league, and looked like a lost franchise in desperate need of a rebuild. The Colts fired their coach, hired one, and then had to hire one again after the first one disappeared on them.
After all of that, the season is finally over. It ended with a thud after getting destroyed by Kansas City 31-13. But just getting to the Divisional round of the playoffs is a success for this team. They weren’t supposed to even break .500 this year.
Everyone counted out the Colts from the get-go. Andrew Luck was finally going to be back, but was he going to be healthy. And even if he was healthy, was he going to be as good as he was before the injury? These were real questions that were swirling around in preseason.
They started 1-5. Everyone thought they were right about this team, and that they could be in contention for the number one overall pick in the draft. But then things changed quickly. They soon won 9 of their last 10 games in the regular season to sneak into the playoffs.
Then they drubbed Houston in their own building in the wild card round. This team was special this season. It had resolve. It might be over for this season, but Colts fans have to be ecstatic about the future of this franchise.
The Colts killed the draft last April. Both Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard were first team All-Pro as rookies. They also got Braden Smith, who looks like a future Pro-Bowler on the offensive line. Tyquan Lewis was the starting defensive end when he got healthy. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins played key snaps all year at running back.
All of these guys played, but don’t forget about Deon Cain. He was drafted with all of these players too, but missed the year because of a torn ACL in training camp. He looked really good when he was healthy. But even with all of these draft picks, the Colts will also have a league-high $124 million in cap space.
With all of that cap space and a ton of picks in this year’s draft at their disposal, this team is going to be a contender for a long time.