Good morning, Colts fans.
Woke up with several thoughts this morning. Sometimes, the mind just starts racing.
– I’m worried rookie QB Andrew Luck is getting a bit gun shy. Seriously, he was getting hit early and often in Sunday’s 20-13 home win over Buffalo. That opening series, TE Dwayne Allen was wide open, but Luck missed because he had to duck to brace himself for getting creamed after he threw. He took four sacks. He’s taken 26. They add up. He’s on pace to take 38. As much as interim coach Bruce Arians likes to throw the ball down the field, it might be wise to add a few more dink-and-dunk plays other than just an occasional wide receiver bubble screen to take some of the pressure off the kid.
– While the Colts have won, let’s not get too giddy about these cornerbacks. Fact is, the Bills beat the Colts deep three times. The first two, Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick missed. Both should have been TDs. The third time, WR Stevie Johnson went 63 yards. In one of unexplained trends from the Buffalo sideline, for some reason the Bills didn’t really throw it deep after that. Don’t recall too many deep shots. The Colts are grateful. CB Vontae Davis needs to get back from a knee injury. That should help, although it won’t completely fix the problem, which will be an issue until addressed in the offseason.
– Rookie T.Y. Hilton has earned the No. 2 WR spot. He’s scored four TDs the past two games, three of those on receptions the other a 75-yard punt return. While WR Donnie Avery impressed me early on, he hasn’t lately. It sure seems as if Avery is more inconsistent than the surging Hilton, who is playing like a guy who needs to be on the field as much as possible.
– ILB Jerrell Freeman has been this team’s MVP, hands down. The media has given him props in the past for making a few plays, for filling in when 2011 leading tackler Pat Angerer got hurt on the first play in preseason, but what Freeman has done goes far beyond just a good guy getting the job done. His 16-tackle, one-sack game against the Bills included bring down slippery RB C.J. Spiller in the open field, which is difficult when the back gives that stutter move. If you take the time to talk to Freeman, the former Canadian Football League All-Star is humble, as if he’s not wanting to wake up and realize this has all been a dream. Freeman has 101 tackles, fourth in the league, according to NFL.com.
– The Colts’ playoff situation is probably better than most realize. Yes, they’re 7-4 and the fifth seed. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are both 6-5, one game back, but realistically it’s more than that because the Colts have the conference record tiebreaker on both. The Colts have a 5-3 conference record. The Steelers are 3-5, the Bengals 4-5. Oh, and looking at schedules, the Steelers and Bengals have to play once more. After that, the only team within remote striking distance is Miami at 5-6. The Colts have the head-to-head on those guys and the Dolphins have a 3-5 conference record. Barring a collapse, the Colts should be able to secure a playoff berth with nine wins without any problem. Ten would make it for sure, but it’s starting to look like nine will be the minimum requirement.