Colts: Playoffs and Beyond

at Baltimore, Lost 24-9

What Happened: The game basically came down to the defense giving up big plays which led to touchdowns and the offense not being able to put the ball in the end zone. There were lots of dropped passes and a constant rush from Baltimore defense. 

Final Thoughts on 2012
When I first scripted out the Colts' season, it most certainly did not come out this way. I said nine wins would be obtainable with a few breaks and a possibility of the playoffs. Well, they certainly shatter that claim by riding the arm of a fantastic rookie and the #Chuckstrong movement.

The season could not have been any more enjoyable. It was an thrill ride. The draft class more than lived up to expectations and with the amount of revolving bodies in and out of the locker room it is really hard to believe the team performed as well as they did. Sure this team has needs to address. But for many young players who will have a future role on the team gained valuable experience.

Looking to 2013
Bruce Arians deserves a head coaching job in the NFL after this season. But I hope he turns them all down to remain the OC in Indy. He was a big reason for the team's success. 

Indy has a lot of cap space. I look for Gigson to make maybe one big signing in free agency, grab a few solid guys to fill some holes,  and continue with picking up players that are low risk and high reward guys. An obvious upgrade to the offensive line and secondary is needed. Defensive line, linebacker, and receiver depth would help too. 

I dont see a lot of the guys from the old regime sticking around such as Dwight Freeney, Donald Brown, and Jerrod Powers. I could even see Grigson trading away some other guys who aren't good fits for the 3-4 defense such as Angerer. Of current guys on the roster who will be free agents, Pat McAfee is a must sign. We need "The Boomstick" on the roster.

One thing is for certain...
The future looks good.

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Indianapolis Colts (2nd Half Recap)

For the first half of the season recap go to this post:

Week 10 (11/8): at Jacksonville Jaguars
Won 27-10

What Happened: I thought they might split with Jacksonville but I had the games flipped. The Colts came to Florida and simply dominated. The team needed a nice win on the road.
Predicted: Loss (6-3)
Actual Record: (6-3)

Week 11 (11/18): at New England Patriots
Loss 59-24

What Happened: The Colts looked bad. Very bad. Luck throws to interceptions for TD's and the special teams gives up another. Plus Brady threw at will. No a good game.
Predicted: Loss (6-4)
Actual Record: (6-4)

Week 12 (11/25): vs. Buffalo Bills
Won 20-13

What Happened: The Colts get a big day from rookie T.Y. Hilton as he becomes the first player in franchise history to get a punt return TD and a reception TD in the same game. Bills keep it interesting but in the end Indy wins another close game.
Predicted: Loss (6-5)
Actual Record: (7-4)

Week 13 (12/2): at Detroit Lions
Won 35-33

What Happened: I had damn near everything right in my prediction. Except the Colts pulling out a literal last second victory. Luck didn't look great but had big numbers. Calvin Johnson was nearly unstoppable. Indy falls behind and makes up the deficit in the last four minutes. This isn't the best team in the league but the find ways to win close games. They are in the driver's seat for the first wild card position. Dont count this team out. Ever. This is a special season with the team taking on Pagano's fearless, never quit approach.
Predicted: Loss (6-6)
Actual Record: (8-4)

Week 14 (12/9): vs. Tennessee Titans 
Won 27-23

What Happened: The Titans played a tough game as Locker threw the ball consistent against the secondary and Luck tosses up another pick six, albeit questionable. The Colts did what needed to be done and grinded out another close win on the season. The victory guarantees a winning season and puts them in the driver's seat for a wild card playoff birth.
Predicted: Win (7-6)
Actual Record: (9-4)

Week 15 (12/16): at Houston Texans
Lost 29-17

What Happened: Mental mistakes cost Indy the game with timely penalties. A fumble lost on the 1 yard line and a blocked punt for a TD didn't help much and neither did not being able to keep the Texans defensive line out of Luck's face. They were within nine points early in the 4th quarter but just couldn't make the big play. Houston wins the division.
Predicted: Loss (7-7)
Actual Record: 9-5

Week 16 (12/23): at Kansas City Chiefs 
Won 20-13

What Happened:
The Colts find a way to survive on the road. KC ran the ball all over the place for over 350 yards but come up with an important interception when it was needed. The offense had trouble all day, until when it counted. That equals another come from behind win and a guaranteed playoff spot for these young, cardiac Colts. And 9 wins by interm coach Bruce Arians. Well done sir.
Predicted: (7-8)
Actual Record: 10-5

Week 17 (12/30): vs. Houston Texans
Won 28-16

What Happened:
Coach Pagano returned to the sidelines this week. Emotions were high. And this team fought like it was still trying to secure a winning season. They ended up playing there most complete game of the year, in my opinion. Nothing fancy or great here, except an awesome 70 yard bomb to T.Y. Hilton. Indy simply went out and took care of business against a Houston team fighting for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Predicted: (7-9)
Actual Record: (11-5)

The Season
Even me, the man who claims at the beginning of the year the Colts will be 16-0 until proven otherwise, could not have predicted or asked for a better season. This team is far from perfect but there is something special about them. Plus with the Pagano leukemia situation, it makes for a great story and gives people a reason to cheer. Seriously, after replacing one of the all time great QB's in NFL history did anyone ever think this franchise would be in the playoffs this soon? Not many.
I predicted seven wins and thought they could get to nine with an outside shot at the playoffs. Well as the old ball coach once said "This is why we play the games". Anything can happen.
And it isn't quite over yet. 

Playoff Prediction

at Baltimore: 
I like this match up. These Colts team plays hard, plays to the end, and find ways to win close games. This is a hostile environment. Ray Lewis is returning for what could be his last game. Baltimore still hates Indianapolis for taking their team. This game has got me excited. The Colts win another squeaker 24-20 and add another positive to this amazing season.

at Denver or at New England:
Unfortunately, I dont see the Colts making past this round. I think they show up and put on a good game against either of these teams. But the season comes to an end with a lot to build upon for the future.

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