The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Pro Sports

December 16, 2013

Linemen leading Colts' offensive rebirth

(Continued)

"Guys are kind of dinged up right now," Richardson said on his own conference call. "We got guys coming back. Players just got to be in the best situation where we're ready all the time. We practice hard."

That was a common theme Monday. Castonzo also said solid practices during the week translated to solid performances Sunday.

And that could be the key to lighting the spark Indianapolis has been looking for.

The win against the Texans (2-12) improved Luck's record to 10-0 following a loss in his NFL career. But he and the Colts haven't fared so well after recent wins.

The team has alternated wins and losses for the past seven weeks, and head coach Chuck Pagano has been vocal about the need to begin stockpiling momentum for a playoff push.

The offensive line might have taken the first steps. Despite an ugly 42-28 loss at Cincinnati last week, Indianapolis did not allow a sack for the first time in 25 games. And the success continued Sunday despite a number of new faces being shuffled in and out of the lineup.

"I feel like as an offensive line we've put together two back-to-back pretty good games, at least the second half of the previous game and then this game against the Texans," Castonzo said. "We're starting to play as well as we should be, and we'd like to keep that going."

The benefits of the line's improvement are obvious in Luck's numbers. After throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions in the previous four games, the second-year star has six scoring strikes and just one pick in the past six quarters.

Those are the kinds of numbers that allow a team to dream about getting hot and making a deep playoff run. But Indianapolis has business to attend to still in the regular season.

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