AFC North

Colts Offensive Line Greatly Improved

One of the saddest storylines of the past few seasons is how the Indianapolis Colts have helped derail the first half of Andrew Luck’s career by neglecting to put a competent line in front of him. Luck did so much in his first few seasons, but the cost was substantial. He returned to the field Sunday after a 616-day absence. What he saw from his offensive line must have pleased him.

It looks like the Colts have finally put together a decent unit with plenty of upside around their franchise quarterback. When Andrew Luck has time and can stay healthy, he is one of the most accurate passers in football. He is extremely smart and reads defenses as well as anyone. All he needs is those few extra seconds that he rarely seemed to get earlier in his career.

Throughout Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Luck consistently had time to work through his progressions and make throws. Cincinnati doesn’t have an elite pass rush, but they aren’t bad either. Blocking the likes of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap is no small task. When it was all said and done, though, the Colts’ o-line had allowed just 2 sacks in 56 called pass plays. Not bad at all.

Most impressive was the way rookie left guard Quenton Nelson, out of Notre Dame, held his own in both the run and pass game. Yes, Atkins beat him a few times, but Nelson was solid in his first NFL action against an elite defensive tackle. Between the performance of Nelson and the rest of the offensive line, Luck had time to make plays throughout the afternoon. Despite the loss, Colts fans have to be excited about the positives that were on display.

It will be interesting to see how Indy’s o-line fares against better pass rushes and higher-percentage blitzing teams. In the meantime, they appear to be headed in the right direction.

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