Colts Blueprint In Denver Win Has Jim Irsay Believing

Intro: The only time Andrew Luck and Rob Chudzinski worked together in 2015, the Colts offense had its finest hour. Is the Denver game what to expect for the offense going into 2016?

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INDIANAPOLIS – It's the last time Andrew Luck strapped on the pads.

It's also why the Colts brass has hope for an offensive revival in 2016.

Rob Chudzinski's lone work with Luck in 2015 came in the offense's finest hour of work all season long.

With less than ideal circumstances staring them in the face against Denver (facing the league's No. 1 defense, under a new offensive coordinator, in a short week of preparation), the Colts best offensive performance in 2015 came with Chud and Luck together.

"(We) make a change (at offensive coordinator) and go beat an undefeated Denver team with our starting quarterback. I think everybody saw a glimpse of what could be the vision we all had and where this team could go," Pagano said on Monday.

What no one knew in the hours after that contest was Luck's last time being on a football field in 2015 was that early November night in Indianapolis.

Luck would miss the rest of the season after playing through the fourth quarter with a lacerated kidney.

His loss still didn't diminish what the offense did against the league's top defense.

  • Luck was sacked just once in the 27-24 victory over Denver. Besides Indianapolis, the Broncos recorded at least two sacks in every game this season. Denver finished the season with a league-best 52 sacks.
  • Behind Luck's 98.4 quarterback rating (the highest for an opposing quarterback versus Denver in 2015), the Colts scored 27 points. The 27 points was the second highest amount against Denver this season. In 2015, Denver allowed an average of 18.5 points per game.
  • The Colts held the ball for more than 38 minutes back in Week Nine, with their 40 rushing attempts being seven more than any other team had against Denver in 2015.

Denver is what Chud had in mind before the injury-wildfire engulfed the quarterback position.

"The game that we played against Denver, I think that's the vision of how you would want this thing to go and how I would see it going from a performance standpoint in what we can be and what we can do," Chud said at the end of the regular season.

Luck's health is the clear variable that saw the offense run through four quarterbacks in the final two months of the season.

Jim Irsay said on Monday that he believed Luck would have been cleared for the Divisional Round of the Playoffs, with the Wild Card round not totally ruled out.

With a healthy Luck in 2016 having an entire offseason inside of Chud's system, and the Colts having nearly all of their key skill guys under contract, we will find out if Denver is the norm.

"We know about some of the changes we made that were positive," Irsay says of the offense under Chud's control.

"We'll never know what could have been after Denver, but we sure want to find out about the future because I think great things are in store."

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