Scouting out the Colts

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OWINGS MILLS - Think back to this same time last year.

The Indianapolis Colts had just wrapped up one of the worst seasons in franchise history - a year that began with 13 straight defeats. It was a season during which the Colts had a revolving door at quarterback without an injured Peyton Manning - with Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky each starting multiple games under center. They had one of the NFL's least productive passing games, one of the league's worst rushing attacks and a defense that yielded nearly 30 points per game.

They finished 2-14 and were outscored by an average margin of 15 points in their 14 losses.

Yet, just a year later, the Colts are 11-5 and enter Sunday's AFC Wild Card matchup with the Baltimore Ravens having won nine of their last 11 games.

Here's a look at Indianapolis heading into Sunday's matchup:


It's no secret the Colts are an offense built around rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and their passing game. They threw the ball nearly 65 percent of the time during the regular season. And while their running game was among the least productive in the AFC - averaging just 3.8 yards per carry - they finished the regular season ranked third in the AFC in passing offense. In just his first NFL season, Luck - the top pick in April's NFL draft - threw for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns. He struggled with turnovers (18 interceptions, five lost fumbles), but has thrown multiple touchdown passes in eight of Indianapolis's last 15 games and had seven games during the regular season that he threw for 297 yards or more. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne ranked third in the AFC in catches (106 for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns) and was just one of three Colts wide receivers with 781 yards or more. Speedy rookie T.Y. Hilton had 50 catches for 871 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. Hilton's average of 17.2 yards per catch was second best in the AFC among receivers with 50 catches or more. Fellow speedster Donnie Avery - signed as a free agent during this past offseason - had 60 catches for 781 yards and three scores while rookie tight ends Dwayne Allen (45 catches, 521 yards, three TDs) and Coby Fleener (26 catches, 281 yards, two TDs) caught a combined 71 passes for 802 yards and five scores.

Luck has struggled of late, however. He threw three interceptions against the Detroit Lions in Week 13 and was then limited to 196 yards or less in three of the Colts' final four regular season games. He completed just 47 percent of his passes during the final five games of the regular season.

Meanwhile, pass protection continues to be a problem for Indianapolis's offensive line. Luck was sacked 41 times during the regular season, the fourth-most of any NFL quarterback, including 19 times in the last six games.



The Colts allowed just 29 total points in their last two games, but finished the regular season ranked third-worst in the AFC in total defense, third-worst in the conference in rushing defense and sixth-worst in pass defense. They also finished the regular season with just 32 sacks, the fifth-fewest in the AFC. But the main problem - especially of late - has been their run defense. They've yielded 613 yards on the ground in their last three games, including 352 to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. Seven different running backs have eclipsed 100 yards rushing against Indianapolis this year, including four that finished with 161 yards or more. The Colts surrendered an average of 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season, the highest such mark in the AFC.