The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Sports Columns

December 1, 2013

Mike Lopresti: Colts good enough this time

They zig, they zag. They beat Denver and Seattle and get plastered by scores of 40-11 and 38-8. When they are good, they can be very, very good. And when they're bad, they can be horrid. But they won't budge. Not yet, anyway.

The Indianapolis Colts now own an 8-4 record seemingly put together by grit and gall and paper clips, and will probably win their division after Sunday. And yet, there are still so many things to wonder. Nearly every thought about this team ends with the word "but."

Sunday's 22-14 win over Tennessee was about a 9.5 on the ugly-o-meter.

But . . .

At this stage, nobody is counting style points.

"ll never complain about a win. I don't think you'll ever hear anybody in that locker room complain about a win," Andrew Luck mentioned.

Consider the bottom line. Victory meant the AFC South is now nearly in the bag. Defeat would have had thousands of fingers looking for panic buttons to push, and owner Jim Irsay eager to return to his Twitter account.

But . . .

The stubborn flaws that won't vanish were on display this very day. The offensive line (five Luck sacks), the ground game (nothing till the last drive), the pass rush (mute except for the occasional Robert Mathis appearance), the short-handed receiver situation (after another head-shaking dropped pass, Darrius Heyward-Bey's future as a bomb defuser is really in jeopardy).

They must be fixed soon, if they are to be fixed at all.

"We know we can't survive our mistakes forever. I know it sounds a bit like a broken record," Luck said. Which is a worrisome thing to be uttering after the 12th game of the season.

But . . .

They so often find a way. Watching the Colts a lot of Sundays is a little like watching a squirrel work its way through a maze. Five field goals by Adam Vinatieri, and one Donald Brown-led touchdown drive were about all Indianapolis could offer on offense. A critical game was saved by a 40-year-old kicker and a backup getting a chance to start at running back.

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