KANSAS CITY — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich tonight was awarded the AFC Coach of the Year for the 2018 season at the 49th annual NFL 101 awards dinner in Kansas City.
In his first year as head coach, Reich led the Colts to a 10-6 regular season record, including one postseason win and an appearance in the AFC Divisional Round. He became just the third head coach in team history to win a playoff game in his first season at the helm.
After starting the season with a 1-5 record, Indianapolis won nine of its final 10 regular season games to clinch the team's first postseason berth since the 2014 season. The Colts became 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.
The Colts finished the 2018 regular season ranked in the top-10 in offensive points per game (27.1, fifth) and defensive points allowed per game (21.5, 10th). They were one of just four teams to rank in the top-10 in both categories.
As the offensive play caller, Reich spearheaded a Colts offense that ranked among the best in numerous offensive categories, including yards per game (386.2, seventh), passing yards per game (278.8, sixth), sacks allowed (18.0, first), first downs per game (23.2, sixth) and third down percentage (48.6, first).
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 (18.0) in the NFL in 2018 after allowing the most (56.0) in 2017. From Weeks 5-12, quarterback Andrew 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 tied for the third-most games in league history since 1982.
In 2018, Luck completed 430-of-639 passes (67.3 percent) for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions for a 98.7 passer rating. He set single-season career highs in completions, attempts, completion percentage and passer rating. Luck's passing yards and passing touchdowns were the second-best marks of his career. He ranked in the top-five in the NFL in passing touchdowns (second), attempts (second), completions (second) and yards (fifth). From Weeks 4-12, Luck threw three or more touchdown passes in eight consecutive games, which was the longest streak in the NFL this season and tied for the second-longest in league history.
Tight end Eric Ebron had the best season of his five-year career 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.
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.
This marks the fifth time that the Colts have had a coach win the award as Reich joins Ron Meyer (1987), Jim Mora (1999), Tony Dungy (2005) and Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians (2012).
The nation's longest-running salute to professional football, the 101 Awards annually honor the outstanding achievements in the NFL based on votes by a selection committee comprised of 101 members of the national media. Founded in 1969, the 101 Awards has recognized many of the greatest players and coaches ever to take the field throughout NFL history, and this year's class adds to the impressive list of award winners.