Indianapolis Colts

How far can Andrew Luck carry the Colts this season?

October 9, 2016: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) during the NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

So far this season, the Indianapolis Colts are lucky to have a 3-4 record. They’re three wins have come against teams with losing records, and all three of those wins have been by a single score. A large part of the reason the Colts have those three wins has been because of the performance of quarterback Andrew Luck this year.

But just how far can Luck carry the Colts this year?

Luck is having the best season of his career thus far, completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 296.3 yards a game, tossing 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He’s also added 149 rushing yards and a score on just 27 carries. His numbers in Indy’s three wins are even more efficient. Luck has completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 1,006 yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception in the Colts’ wins this year.

Luck has thrown for the third-most yards in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks, the fifth-most touchdowns, and has the 10th-best quarterback rating in the league. He’s been one of the best all-around quarterbacks in the league this year.

The rest of the team, however, hasn’t performed nearly as well in any of the Colts’ seven games this season.

Indy’s defense certainly hasn’t helped Luck.

This season has seen the Colts’ defense regress from last year rather than improve. The Colts rank 28th in total yards allowed, 25th in both passing and rushing yards allowed, and 28th in points allowed. Indy has only forced seven turnovers all season, and they’ve only sacked opposing quarterbacks 11 times, tied for the seventh-fewest total in the NFL. They’ve also allowed teams to convert on 42.9 percent of their third down attempts and have given up the most first downs to opponents (169) this year.

And it’s not just been Indianapolis’s defense. The Colts’ running game and offensive line haven’t helped Luck either.

The Colts have the 21st-ranked rushing attack in the NFL. On the season, Indianapolis is only averaging 98.9 rushing yards a game, and Luck’s 149 yards are second on the team by 119 yards. The offensive line hasn’t helped the running game, nor has it helped Luck as a passer either. Indianapolis has allowed the most sacks in the NFL this season, letting Luck get taken down 25 times so far through seven games.

Not only that, but the team as a whole on both sides of the ball have played sloppy all season. The Colts have been penalized 59 times this season, the second-highest total in the league. Those 59 penalties have gone for an astounding 523 yards, the second-highest total in the NFL.

And the Titans were bad again on Sunday despite getting another win. The Colts were penalized 12 times for 131 yards, allowed the Titans to convert on 9-of-15 third down attempts, and rushed for a mere 81 yards as a team. Yet Luck managed to have his best game of the season, completing 27 of his 39 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns.

If not for Andrew Luck, the Colts would be much worse off this season. Indianapolis’ injury-depleted roster has been held afloat by Luck’s efforts, and the passing game as a whole has mostly flourished. But other than that, the Colts have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. And with games against Kansas City, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh upcoming in the next month, Luck alone won’t be enough for Indianapolis to find a win in those three games.

Andrew Luck has carried the Colts so far this season. But there’s a limit to what he can do for a bad roster.

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