The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports Columns

December 30, 2013

Mike Lopresti: Who says numbers don't lie?

Here's another verse from the book of Chuck Pagano.

"We always talk about faith is believing something that you can't see," he was saying about the Indianapolis Colts. "And the reward is, if you believe in it long enough, you'll probably get to see it."

In other words, never let statistics get in the way, because sometimes they can lie like a con man. And ain't that the truth with these particular Colts? What follows is a season by the numbers; some good, some bad, some inexplicable.

The Colts beat the No. 1 seed in both conferences. But lost to three teams who didn't even make the playoffs.

They had fewer first downs than their opponents, punted more often, had no better third-down conversion rate, averaged less time of possession and gained fewer yards per offensive play. They still went 11-5.

Despite the quick 17-0 lead over Jacksonville last Sunday, they were outscored 102-70 in the first quarter.

Reggie Wayne ended up the third leading receiver, and didn't play in the last nine games.

Donald Brown had the longest run from scrimmage this season. The player with the next longest was Darrius Heyward-Bey.

The Colts scored 24.4 points a game. Of the 11 other playoff teams, 10 had higher averages. Only Carolina was lower.

Indianapolis went 6-0 against the AFC South by an average winning margin of 15 points. The Colts could have taken the division with a 7-9 record, so long as they still won all six South games.

Andrew Luck had 10 fourth-quarter or overtime winning drives in his first 24 pro games. None in his last eight. The average winning margin of those eight games was 17.75.

Nobody has confused the Indianapolis rushing game with a machine, but the Colts have rushed for 100 yards in 10 games this season, the most in seven years.

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