Mid-Season Awards at the end of the article.
We are 9 weeks through the Colts’ season and that means it is officially time to take a step back and look at what the current state of the team and the season looks like. Indy is doing a lot right, but they’re also doing a lot wrong. It’s certainly been a rollercoaster of a year thus far and the fate of the Colts is still very much up in the air. The playoffs are a possibility but slowly moving out of reach if they don’t get their issues under control.
The Colts currently sit one game under .500 at 4-5 and stand at 12th in the AFC, but have a very tough schedule ahead. The good news is that the rest of the AFC has slowly become a mess on its own. Five of the seven teams that are currently in the AFC playoff race only have one more win than Indy. And the four teams ahead of them also only have one more win. Weeks like Week 9 are certainly going to help push them deeper into the playoff race with teams like the Bengals, Raiders, and Bills all losing to teams that were .500 or under. We still have 8 games left to play and if the Colts can win at least 5 of those 8, they can make the playoffs. But there are things that they have to get under control to be able to do so.
The number one issue for Indy has absolutely been the defense. They currently are giving up the 5th most yards in the league and the most passing touchdowns. On the positive side, they are also forcing the most turnovers. But it really seems like this defense either allows a touchdown or forces a turnover. On the defensive line, getting to the QB has been a serious issue. Through 9 weeks, the Colts are bottom 5 in pressures on the quarterback and because they aren’t getting to the QB, that’s allowing them to torch our depleted/lackluster secondary. The rest of the team is also giving up the second-most missed tackles. The offense is giving them leads and the defense is blowing them. As Colts owner Jim Irsay mentioned on Twitter, had the Colts held on to the double-digit leads in the Ravens game and the home game against the Titans, they would currently be sitting as the one seed in the AFC. With the last 8 games coming up, they face 4 of the top 10 scoring offenses in the league. They have to get the defense under control if they want to stand a chance.
On the more positive side of things, the offense has not only been rolling but has not been this fun to watch since Andrew Luck was under center. Carson Wentz has been playing so much better than the media and general public like to give him credit for. The offensive line is starting to come together (including the depth performing very well). Michael Pittman Jr. has been putting opposing defenses on notice that he is in fact a grown man. And the biggest factor in this offense has been Jonathan Taylor. Despite his lower number of carries, he will likely be the leading rusher in the league in a week or two. Continuing to put the ball in his hands will be crucial to keep this offense moving. As it stands now, the offense as a whole is top 5 in scoring and only shows signs of heating up.
Here are the current paces for the starting offense:
Carson Wentz: 4152 YDS, 32 TD, 6 INT
Career high for yards, career low INTs, projected top 10 in the league in all stats
Jonathan Taylor: 1551 YDS, 15 TD, 5.9 YPC, 553 REC YDS
Career highs for rushing and receiving yards, projected most rushing yards in the league
Michael Pittman Jr.: 94 REC, 1242 YDS, 9 TD
Career high in all stats, projected top 10 in the league in all stats
And with the boring stuff out of the way, let’s hand out some mid-season awards.
MVP: Jonathan Taylor
Also received votes: Darius Leonard
Offensive Player of the Year: Jonathan Taylor
Also received votes: Michael Pittman Jr., Carson Wentz
These should not come as a surprise to anyone as JT has been electric in both the running game and the passing game. Anytime the ball is in his hands, you have no idea what he can do with it or how far he’ll take it. And with Derrick Henry likely out for the season, he’s currently on pace to lead the league in rushing. He’s also on pace for a 2,000 yards from scrimmage season, which is insane to think about when you realize he’s only in his second season. His future is very bright and could very well be considered a top 3-5 RB in the league by the end of the year.
Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Leonard
Despite being hurt for most of the season, Leonard has shown no stoppage in his playmaking ability. He is forcing turnovers at an almost unheard of rate and has been easily the best defensive player on the team (and while not being difficult with how lackluster and injured this defense has been, still impressive). Leonard is currently the only thing keeping this defense from allowing more points and for that, he is 100% the defensive player of the year.
Rookie of the Year: Kwity Paye
There really aren’t any other rookies to hand this award to as the only others with any playing time, have had no production. Paye has been solid, but very quiet on the stat sheet.
Breakout Player: Michael Pittman Jr.
Also received votes: Mo Alie-Cox, Chris Reed
This one should also be pretty self-explanatory. MPJ has been proving himself more and more to be that WR1 the Colts have been looking for since TY Hilton had started regressing. Last season was more of a coming together year for him, but this season he has been very good. On pace to be the first Colts’ WR with 1000 receiving yards since TY Hilton in 2018, Pittman has been looking like a top 15 receiver in the entire league. Making plenty of jump ball plays and drawing a ton of defensive pass interferences, MPJ is a grown man and he is showing that to the rest of the league as well.
Most Disappointing: Braden Smith
Also received votes: Xavier Rhodes, TY Hilton
Best Acquisition: Carson Wentz
Also received votes: Eric Fisher, Chris Reed, Matt Pryor
Bench Player: Chris Reed
Also received votes: Matt Pryor, Nyheim Hines, Ashton Dulin