The Indianapolis Colts special teams unit deserves their respect

After making multiple big time plays in the Week 13 win against the Titans, the fourth-down unit once again earned some love from Indianapolis Colts fans.
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

For the Indianapolis Colts, football is certainly more than a two-sided game. From being two games above .500 with a backup quarterback to cutting their highest-paid player, the 2023 Colts are truly like no other team we've seen before.

While credit is rightfully going to first year head coach Shane Steichen, one part of this team's success has flown under the radar: the special teams. Despite losing special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone to Cleveland in the offseason, this year's unit led by former Notre Dame man Brian Mason has been nothing short of elite.

The Colts have the most money dedicated to special teams in the entire NFL, employing the highest paid kicker and long snapper in the league. Fortunately, these contracts (along with other great talent on the fourth down unit) have paid off for Indianapolis.

Great punting has been a difference maker for the Colts

With zero touchbacks from punts so far this season, Indianapolis is the only team left in the NFL that has yet to see a punt go out the back of the end zone. The Colts have the most punts downed in the NFL with nine, and all credit is due to punter Rigoberto Sanchez and his gunners on the outside.

Looking at the return game, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie has shown development in becoming a top return man in the league. In last weekend's win against the Titans, McKenzie ran back his first kickoff return of the day nearly to midfield, setting up a Gardner Minshew deep ball to Alec Pierce for the first Colts touchdown of the day.

Coming back to the kicking, 2023 signee Matt Gay has drilled over 85% of his field goals. While there are a few misses in there, Gay has shown glimpses of consistency that Indianapolis hasn't seen at the position in years. With only one game left on an outdoor field, it'll be important for the Australian to split the uprights consistently as the Colts look to make it a five-game winning streak on the year against Cincinnati this weekend.