The Indianapolis Colts were unable to defeat their rival New England Patriots, and ended up falling 43-22. It definitely hurts to miss out on a Super Bowl appearance and especially to the Patriots, but the team took major leaps forward this season. Indianapolis dealt with many crippling injuries and still were able to take another step forward from last season.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck took leaps and bounds this season, improving in is game in major ways. He demonstrated excellent decision-making ability and a much improved arm. The performances that he put up in clutch performances this year give fans reason to be excited for the future. Even in the loss to the Patriots, he showed great poise and leadership, and will be an even better player next year with the experience.
The rushing attack persevered through injuries to both Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw, and was able to come through with Donald Brown leading the way. There’s no doubt that the Colts will have a better ground game with Ballard back in the lineup and Trent Richardson having a full offseason to learn the system and carve out his role on the team.
Reggie Wayne was the most devastating injury this year, going down with a torn ACL midway through the regular season. The Colts saw major improvement from T.Y. Hilton, who stepped up in key situations and showed “star” potential. Other players like Da’Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill, and Griff Whalen stepped up in a big way as well, and give the Colts hope as they look towards next season. Another key injury to the receiving corps was tight end Dwayne Allen who went down in the first game of the season.
Defensively there are quite a few holes to fill this offseason, but Robert Mathis came through with the best season of his career. The pass rush as a whole improved immensely and the Colts are a move or two away from putting together an above average defense. Their secondary could use some help, but showed signs of greatness at times throughout the course of the season.
Overall, this is a tough loss to swallow for the Colts and their fans, but don’t be discouraged with the team. They played a tough team in the Patriots in Foxboro and still showed that they were capable of playing with New England. The Colts are an extremely young football team, and the future has never looked brighter in Indianapolis.
Evan Massey is an Editor for Naptown’s Finest. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.