INDIANAPOLIS – Jim Irsay is starting to see the type of offense he felt was necessary for the Colts to make a serious playoff push.
During the team's mid-November bye week, Irsay pointed to what the offense had to do in the season's final stretch.
"We want to see this offense be pretty consistent and pretty dominant," Irsay said in November.
"Again, this team is going to be carried by the offense for the most part…It's a team that can score 30-to-35 points per game and we have to take advantage of that. Offensively we have to continue to help the defense early in games."
The Colts must have been listening to their Owner.
With Andrew Luck under center, this team has won its last three starts.
Offensively, the team's early game output has taken a turn for the better in those victories.
In wins over the Packers, Titans and Jets, quick starts have been a constant.
The Colts have scored at least 14 points in the first quarter of each of those wins. Compare that to the team scoring more than 10 points in the opening quarter just once during the first eight games of the season.
"Offense is playing really well," tight end Dwayne Allen said earlier this week.
Coming into 2016, the offense carrying the torch for longer stretches was essential if the Colts were going to be playoff favorites.
Injuries and inconsistent play defensively has kept the need for the offense to still do the heavy lifting.
While all three phases have played large roles in the Colts winning three of their last four, we are starting to see the offense be the unit many thought it would become at the start of 2016.
The offensive line has also played a major role in the offense averaging just less than 30 points in the last three victories.
Luck has been sacked five times in his last three starts (including a season-low once on Monday). He averaged being sacked 3.4 times a game in his first nine starts this season.
His teammates have noticed a higher level from Luck recently.
"He is definitely playing under control," Allen says of his quarterback. "He understands the playmakers around him and I don't feel as if he is forcing things.
"It's hard whenever you are the quarterback of a team and told to go out there and win a game. You are going to do some things uncharacteristically to try to win that game and I believe that is where we, and Andrew, have gotten in trouble. But as of late, he has been doing a great job of playing under control and playing his game."
That game has the Colts looking to climb above .500 for the first time since last November.
It's doing it thanks to the play of:
- Andrew Luck: A career-high completion percentage in 2016.
- T.Y. Hilton: 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards.
- Donte Moncrief: Five straight games with a touchdown reception.
- Dwayne Allen/Jack Doyle: Combining for 71 catches, 769 yards and 9 touchdowns
- Frank Gore: Hovering right around the pace for a 1,000-yard this season
"It's a fun group to play with and winning is fun," Luck says. " At the end of the day it's fun to win, it's fun to go out and practice and preparing to win."
"We feel good," Hilton says of the offense. "The offense is looking great. We are playing good. We can still get better but I like where we are at."