The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Colts Losing Stud Status


The Colts era of dominance is over. Nothing spells that out clearer than being closer to last-place Houston in the standings than first-place Tennessee. Indianapolis rode the arm of Peyton Manning and the receiving skills of Marvin Harrison and then Reggie Wayne for over a decade now. Other than a dismal 2001 season plagued by a non-existent defense and an Edgerrin James ACL injury, the Colts have consistently recorded double-digit win seasons capped off by the 2006 Super Bowl. But those days are gradually coming to an end.

The Colts may still very well make the playoffs this season. However, the 13 and 14-win seasons are part of the past in the Manning era. The QB and his main man WR Harrison are aging, Joseph Addai is hurting, and the offensive line cannot provide the protection an immobile Manning needs. The offense is ranked worse than the defense. And the fact is the 2008 Colts have given up more points than they've scored. These are not comforting statistics for coach Tony Dungy who has contemplated retirement following his Super Bowl season.

The good news for the Colts is that there are few teams running away from the pack. Tennessee remains the lone undefeated, but it's hard to elevate the Titans to elite status with Kerry Collins at quarterback. How interesting that Jeff Fisher's squad is perfect this season mostly without the services of Vince Young.

Without Tom Brady and now Laurence Maroney, the Patriots are good, but not great. That goes for San Diego as well. Why can't people understand Norv Turner is incapable of winning the big one? Buffalo deserves its current first-place standing, but there's no reason to think the Colts couldn't beat them (at home) on any given Sunday. Pittsburgh's legit, but an array of RB injuries is cause for concern. Otherwise, throw in the Jags, possibly Denver and that's about it in terms of AFC teams that could beat the Colts.

How fitting then that the Colts face the aforementioned Titans, Patriots, Steelers and Chargers in four of the next five weeks. Put simply, by Thanksgiving we'll know whether the Colts have officially lost their stud status. The way things are looking though, just surviving those upcoming games would be enough for Manning and Co. to be thankful for.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  October 21, 2008; 10:29 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Haslett Not the Difference | Next: It's Over... This Season


Please email us to report offensive comments.

The Colts are miserable. They can't block and they can't tackle. I feel like I'm watching a Lindy Infante team.

Posted by: Eric - West Lafayette | October 21, 2008 12:31 PM

The Colts are dead in the water.I'm glad they are in Indianapolis and not Baltimore.Eli is the #1 Manning now.

Posted by: arlin from arlington | October 21, 2008 2:28 PM

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