The Indianapolis Colts dropped to 1-3 on the season with a Week 4 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The defeat puts them tied for last place in the AFC South, and the team could be in for a long season.
Indianapolis appeared to have a bright future just a year ago. The Colts made playoff appearances in Andrew Luck’s first three seasons, reaching the AFC Championship Game in the 2014 season. But the organization hasn’t given the quarterback much help after missing the 2015 playoffs, and Indianapolis has lost three of four games against a weak schedule.
The Colts lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in Week 2, but they’ve also been defeated by the Jaguars and Detroit Lions, whose only victories in 2016 have come against Indianapolis. Indianapolis narrowly defeated the 1-2 San Diego Chargers in Week 3, but there’s little evidence to suggest they’ll have many more victories in 2016.
Only two NFL teams allowed more points that the Colts entering their Week 4, and Indianapolis surrendered 30 points to an offense that had been struggling. Jacksonville was tied for 25th with just 18 points per game, and the Colts let quarterback Blake Bortles have by far the best game of his season.
On offense, Luck was constantly pressured, getting sacked six times. It’s been a theme throughout the early part of the season, and the quarterback won’t be able to have much success with such a poor, inexperienced offensive line.
While Luck hasn’t been put in a position to succeed, he isn’t doing himself any favors. Considered by many to be one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, Luck hasn’t proven to be worth the biggest contract in league history, which he signed this past offseason. Aside from the 2014 season when he threw 40 touchdown passes, Luck has never posted a season passer rating better than 87.0.
The Colts are relying on Luck to carry them to the postseason, but it’s not something he’s capable of doing. Luck has been in the league for a while, and despite the hype that surrounds him, it’s clear he’s not in the same category as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or any of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.
Unless the Colts can quickly turn things around, head coach Chuck Pagano won’t be with the team for much longer. Along with Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley and Buffalo Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan, he appears to have the least amount of job security in the NFL. Missing the playoffs two straight seasons in such a bad division might be too much for Pagano to survive.
Indianapolis’ only saving grace is the fact that the AFC South looks to be as weak as it’s been in each of the last few years. The Houston Texans are the division favorites, but they aren’t among the top teams in the conference, losing 27-0 against Jacoby Brissett and the New England Patriots last week. Jacksonville and the Tennessee Titans have been among the NFL’s worst teams this decade, and that looks to be the case, once again.
But that didn’t do much for the Colts a year ago, and it probably won’t save them, or Pagano, in 2016.