2018 Colts Review: Season Synopsis

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The Indianapolis Colts finished the 2018 season with a 10-6 regular season record, including 4-2 in the AFC South Division. After a Wild Card Round win on the road versus the Houston Texans, the Colts concluded the season with an appearance in the AFC Divisional Round against the Kansas City Chiefs.

After starting the season with a 1-5 record, Indianapolis won nine of their final 10 regular season games to clinch the team’s first postseason berth since 2014. The Colts became just the third team in NFL history to start the season 1-5 and make it to the playoffs. Additionally, the Colts were the second team in NFL history to start a season 1-5 and win a playoff game.

Head Coach Frank Reich became just the third head coach in team history to win a playoff game in his first season at the helm. He was named the AFC Coach of the Year for the 2018 season by the NFL 101 Awards.

Pivotal in the team’s 2018 success was the Colts’ 2018 11-man NFL Draft class, who combined to play in 133 regular season games (67 starts) and 18 postseason games (nine starts). The group was spearheaded by guard/center Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard, who joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers (Chicago, 1965) as the second pair of rookie teammates to be selected First Team All-Pro since the Associated Press started selecting All-Pro teams in 1940. Nelson was also selected to the Pro Bowl.

The 2018 season saw the return of quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed the entire 2017 season due to injury. He had one of the most productive seasons of his seven-year career as he completed 430-of-639 passes (67.3 percent) for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 98.7 passer rating. Luck set single-season career highs in completions, attempts, completion percentage and passer rating while his passing yards and touchdowns each ranked second. He threw touchdown passes to 13 different receivers, which tied an NFL single-season record. Luck was selected the 2018 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Offensively, one of the biggest improvements was the offensive line, which led the NFL with six games with zero sacks allowed. The Colts allowed the fewest sacks (18) in the NFL in 2018. From Weeks 5-12, Luck attempted 239 passes without being sacked, which was the third-longest streak in NFL history. The unit registered five consecutive games with zero sacks allowed, which was tied for the third-most games in league history since 1982.

Tight end Eric Ebron had a career year in his first season with Indianapolis as he caught 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns (all career highs) and also registered a rushing touchdown. His 13 receiving touchdowns set a Colts single-season record for a tight end. Ebron led all tight ends in receiving touchdowns and tied for the second-most among all players. His 14 total touchdowns tied for fifth in the NFL and he was selected to his first career Pro Bowl.

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton led the team with 76 receptions for 1,270 yards and six touchdowns. He registered his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season and is one of just four NFL players to record 50 or more receptions in each of the last seven seasons.

Defensively, the Colts were one of just three teams to not allow a 100-yard rusher in the regular season. The unit forced at least one turnover in a league-high 15 regular season games. Indianapolis ranked second in the NFL in tackles for loss (91.0) and led the league with four players with 12.0 or more tackles for loss.

Leonard led the NFL with 163 total tackles (111 solo) while adding 12.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, eight passes defensed, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He became just the second player in NFL history to register 160 or more total tackles and 7.0 or more sacks. Leonard was named the 2018 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Kicker Adam Vinatieri registered his 21st season with 100+ points, which extended his NFL record. He also became the NFL’s all-time leader in points scored (2,600) and field goals made (582).

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