The Indianapolis Colts: 2014 Final Report Card
Andrew Luck arguably had the best year of his career, posting 40 touchdowns and a passer rating of 96.5, but the third-year quarterback was just behind Jay Cutler in turnovers, throwing 16 picks and losing six fumbles. Luck though, was reliable in terms of scoring, failing to score just once in the regular season while scoring multiple touchdowns in all but two games.
T.Y. Hilton took over as the team's lead receiver, finishing sixth in the league with 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. Neither Reggie Wayne nor Hakeem Nicks are what they once were, but both receivers managed to contribute from time to time. The Colts' passing attack also got help from the tight ends, with both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen recording eight touchdowns.
The Colts really struggled running the ball, especially after Ahmad Bradshaw went down. Bradshaw does not have the traits of a number one back nor can he handle the workload, but he was able to help in the passing game which would open way for some runs. The Colts' lead back was Trent Richardson, who averaged 3.3 yards a carry while Dan Herron came out late only to have problems with security. While defense is an issue, this will be of top priority for the Colts to fix in the offseason.
The Colts had a solid season offensively, finishing first in passing yards and sixth in scoring to offset out their low ranking in rushing yards.
Among the more offensive-centric teams, most people did not expect much from the Colts' defense, but they stepped up from time to time.
Led by sixth-year corner Vontae Davis, the Colts fared well against the pass, ranking 12th in the league allowing 229.3 yards per game. They struggled against big plays and had a hard time creating turnovers, but offenses were not able to consistently throw the ball against them.
Where the Colts really had trouble was against the run, having allowed an average of 4.3 yards per carry and 113.4 yards per game despite being ahead in most games. Their worst performances came against the Patriots, as they allowed a total of 423 yards and seven touchdowns between the two games. To be more accurate, they were inconsistent against the run, but the inconsistencies were so extreme that it is most definitely an area of concern.
The Colts' defense gave up a lot of big plays, which can often lose your team the game, and they ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring, allowing an average of 23.1 yards per game.
Adam Vinatieri had a great year, finishing first in the league with a 96.8 field goal percentage and hitting all three from 50+. Vinatieri gave the Colts a reliable option for scoring, keeping them from having to make difficult decisions to go for it on outer field goal range.
Pat McAfee had a nice year too, proving that he has one of the strongest legs in the league. McAfee finished the season with an average net yardage of 42.8, which is good for third in the league, and pinned his opponents within the 20 yard line 43.5% of the time.
Josh Cribbs averaged 32 yards per kick return while Griff Whalen and Dan Herron did a nice job returning before the Colts brough Cribbs along. Both Cribbs and Whalen though, had trouble returning punts, as neither player averaged more than eight yards per return.
The Colts had a very shaky finish, losing to the Patriots 45-7, but they played well for most of the regular season and Andrew Luck outplayed Peyton Manning in the divisional round. They had yet to prove that they can compete with the likes of New England, but they have a lot of young talent and should be better next year.