The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2012 regular season with an 11-5 record, earning an AFC Wild Card berth in the postseason. The 11-win total was a nine-win improvement from last year, tying the Colts for the third-largest one-year turnaround in NFL history.
The Colts saw plenty of new faces this year with a first-year General Manager in Ryan Grigson, first-year Head Coach in Chuck Pagano, a new coaching staff and an abundance of rookies playing active roles on the roster throughout the season.
The young players took complete advantage of their early opportunity and made strong contributions to the team. The Colts rookie class combined for the most scrimmage yards (3,108) of any team's rookie class since the 1970 merger. Quarterback Andrew Luck broke several rookie records, setting new NFL standards in passing yards (4,374) by a rookie and wins (11) by a No. 1 overall draft pick in his rookie season. Running back Vick Ballard led the team in rushing with 211 carries for 814 yards and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton led the team with eight total touchdowns, including seven receiving touchdowns and one punt return touchdown.
The veterans continued their high level of play too, as wide receiver Reggie Wayne experienced one of the best seasons of his 12-year career, reeling in 106 receptions for 1,355 yards. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis transitioned from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Colts new 3-4 defense and combined for 13 sacks on the year. Defensive end Cory Redding made an immediate impact in his first year with the team, earning the Colts Man of the Year award for his leadership on and off the field.
Although the team saw a great deal of success this year, the entire Colts organization was struck with adversity in Week 4 when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, forcing him to be away from the team as he underwent treatment for the following 12 weeks. The Colts rallied around him though and did not miss a beat in his absence. Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians assumed interim head coaching duties during that time and led the Colts to nine victories and a playoff berth until Pagano returned on December 24 to coach the final game of the regular season and the AFC Wild Card Game the next week.
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