Indianapolis all but won the AFC South on Thursday night in Nashville, storming back to beat the Tennessee Titans, 30-27. It was the second huge comeback road win in the division for the Colts in the last three weeks. The Colts have overcome double-digit deficits six times since Andrew Luck was drafted in 2012.
There are entire halves during which the Colts look like one of the worst teams in football. Their offensive line gets overwhelmed. Their linebackers can't cover. They have been outscored 66-9 in the first half of the past three games combined, including when they spotted the Titans two quick touchdowns Thursday night. But we might as well get used to the Colts' inconsistencies because this team is headed for the playoffs.
With the victory, the Colts move to 7-3. The Titans (4-6) are three games back; it's nearly impossible to construct a path in which they climb back in the division race with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The Colts are 3-0 in the AFC South, with all of those wins coming on the road.
The offense is not exactly what coordinator Pep Hamilton envisioned. Donald Brown, not the team's trade acquisition Trent Richardson, ran the ball down Tennessee's throat with 80 yards and two touchdowns. It was tight end Coby Fleener, not Reggie Wayne or Dwayne Allen, who led the Colts in receiving. Guys like Weslye Saunders, Griff Whalen, Stanley Havili and David Reed are getting key snaps. But this team somehow finds a way to win in tough situations.
It's easy to poke holes in the Colts, which is true of a lot of teams that are inexplicably greater than the sum of their parts. We'd suggest to Colts fans to enjoy the ride. Wayne's injury hurts, but Indianapolis has the best young quarterback in football and the DNA of a squad that beat San Francisco, Seattle and Denver before this midseason dip in play.
It's risky to count out the Colts from accomplishing anything. We're only just past halftime of this NFL season.