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Colts Offensive Line Coming Together At The Most Critical Time

Intro: Andrew Luck’s ample time to work in the pocket this postseason is thanks to a starting offensive line that wasn’t expected back in Training Camp.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck's jersey wasn't supposed to look that white after 60 minutes of football.

Not against that Denver pass rush, with a pair of perennial Pro Bowlers coming off the edge.

Not with three offensive linemen starting after they were spectators for much more than half of the regular season.

Not in a stadium where visitors have to operate via silent calls, in order to try and keep all 11 offensive players on the same page.

But there was Luck on Sunday evening running into the tunnel rejoicing a road playoff victory while looking like he had just put the No. 12 jersey on a few hours earlier.

In 45 drop backs on Sunday, Luck was never sacked.

"Pep (Hamilton) did an outstanding job with the plan. The o-line, they battled," Chuck Pagano said on Monday of his guys in the trenches.

"Talk about a tough test and a tall order. Joe Reitz coming in the last couple weeks, and Von Miller is a pretty good pass rusher. DeMarcus Ware is a pretty good pass rusher. They're Pro Bowlers for a reason. To come out of there without a sack, a couple pressures and a couple hurries here and there and (four quarterback hits), that was a phenomenal job by that group. You go left to right – A.C. (Anthony Castonzo) and Jack Mewhort, a rookie who's fought through that rookie wall and plays nasty and tough and gritty and all that stuff. Khaled (Holmes) has come in and played well. Lance (Louis) has come in and played well."

The edge play of Castonzo and Reitz was particularly stout on Sunday.

That is expected from a guy like Castonzo who has been in charge of the blindside for Colts quarterbacks ever since being taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Ask tight end Dwayne Allen, and the type of game from Reitz on Sunday should not have been a surprise.

"No one could have predicted us going into Denver and Joe Reitz playing the way that he did except the guys in the locker room," Allen said of Reitz.

"We see how hard he works in the training room to get healthy. We see how hard he works on the playing field to perfect his game."

While Reitz continues to be an invaluable plug and play guy wherever the Colts need him, the interior play of Holmes and Louis should also be commended.

Louis was a healthy scratch for nearly half of the regular season. But with starting right guard Hugh Thornton on injured reserve, it's the first-year Colt in Louis sliding into the starting lineup.

Holmes looked to be on the odd man out of the Colts center rotation after an ankle injury in the preseason pushed him down the depth chart.

Confidence never waivered though in Holmes. He's been the lead communicator of the group the last two weeks as they've allowed just one sack in Luck's 91 postseason drop backs.

Perhaps the best news coming out of Sunday? The Colts continuity up front shouldn't be going anywhere.

"We're healthy, and we're going to have the same lineup for three weeks in a row, which is great," Pagano said on Monday.

"It's going to give us a chance to maybe go and do something special."

Highlights from the front five of the Colts offensive line.

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