The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports Columns

December 30, 2013

Mike Lopresti: Who says numbers don't lie?

(Continued)

Indianapolis had the fewest penalties in the league — one every 14½ minutes.

The Colts are 15-2 in one-possession games the past two years, by far the best in the NFL. But they only played in one the last six weeks of the season.

Robert Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks. That was only 11.5 fewer than the entire Jacksonville team.

Kansas City and San Francisco each had eight players named to the Pro Bowl. Indianapolis had only one, Mathis. The Colts beat them both. The Cleveland Browns, who finished 4-12 and got their coach fired, had five.

The Colts have now gone 35 games without consecutive defeats and will start 2014 having never endured them with Chuck Pagano as coach or Andrew Luck as quarterback. The last consecutive defeat was Dec. 11, 2011. Pagano was defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, and Luck was preparing to lead Stanford against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Colts lost four fumbles all season, fewest in the NFL. At the other end of the list, the Denver Broncos coughed up 16.

Indianapolis had an NFL-low 14 turnovers. The New York Giants had 44.

The early careers of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck continued to follow similar roads. Both threw precisely the same number of touchdown passes their second seasons as they did their rookie years — Manning 26, Luck 23. Both significantly cut down their interceptions — Manning from 28 to 15, Luck from 18 to nine. But one got hit a lot more than the other. Luck was sacked 32 times his second season. Manning only 14.

The Colts have won 11 playoff games since moving to Indianapolis. Three of the 11 — 27 percent of the total — have come against one team. The Kansas City Chiefs.

By Saturday kickoff, the Colts will have gone 1,440 days without winning a playoff game. The last victory was the AFC Championship Game win over the New York Jets in January of 2010. Their leading passer, rusher, receiver and tackler from that game are all gone. For that matter, so are the head coach and the general manager.

"All we did," Pagano said of his regime, "was make a decision that we weren't going to live in circumstances. We were going to live in vision."

It would seem they have seen clearly enough, even if some of their numbers are blind.

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