Saturday’s come from behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs will be remembered as one of the best comebacks in Colts history, and rightly so. The game was more than simply a comeback, it was a bit of an arrival for quarterback Andrew Luck. We all knew he was good, but erasing a 28-point second half deficit is nothing short of excellent. Still, the game wasn’t all rosy for the Colts.
In fact, Indianapolis has a big problem on its hands.
Remember when owner Jim Irsay took a shot at the Peyton Manning era? Remember him explaining the new approach his team was taking would result in more championships, not just playoff appearances? Yeah, I remember, and frankly, I’m seeing the same approach with a new regime.
That is to say, the Colts have a great young quarterback with little talent around him. The Colts still can’t stop opposing teams on offense, and they still can’t run the ball. In short, the Colts of today are like the Colts of the early 2000’s.
That doesn’t mean Indianapolis isn’t working towards something different. Indianapolis has some defensive building blocks for Chuck Pagano and company to play with. In the running game, Donald Brown provides the Colts with a big play threat every time he touches the ball. Despite all this, theoretical differences don’t matter if the net result is the same.
To the Colts’ credit, they were able to avoid a first round exit from the playoffs for a second consecutive season by outshooting the Chiefs by a score of 45 to 44. That may have worked in the wildcard round of the playoffs, but that’s not how a defensive, run-first team wins games. That’s how a high-octane offense with little defense wins games.
Perhaps the worst part about the Colts’ current position is their inability to get off to quick starts. The Colts have made a habit of starting slow and finishing strong. Again, that worked this time, but later in the postseason, there’s no way Indianapolis can continue to play from behind.
I don’t mean to come off as overly down on a team that just advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. The Colts have defeated some of the best teams in the NFL this season such as the Seahawks and Broncos. When they’re playing their best football, they can play with or even outplay any top tier team in the league. They just aren’t consistent enough to do it week in and week out.
The Colts will have a difficult time adding to their roster without a first round draft pick, and considering their second round selection won’t come until the tail end of the round, there won’t be many “must have” players left, but that’s a discussion for another day.
For now, the Colts have locked down one of the better comeback victories in recent memory, and they’re still on the path to contending for championships year in and year out. Let’s not confuse that potential by declaring that Indianapolis has once again arrived as an elite team. There’s still plenty of room for growth, and their future beyond this season will be determined by their ability to continue adding productive players to the mix.