It's easy to be impressed with the Colts 8-1 record in games decided by seven points or less. However, if you dig a bit deeper, you'll see that in more than half of those nine games, the Colts trailed at halftime. In fact, Indianapolis has overcome halftime deficits of seven points or more four times.
Yesterday, for the fifth time this season, the Colts overcame a halftime deficit to rally for a win. Here is the list:
Trailed Packers 21-3: won 30-27
Trailed Titans 10-3 : won 19-13 in overtime
Trailed Dolphins 17-13: won 23-20
Trailed Lions 23-14: won 35-33
Trailed Titans 20-7: won 27-23
How have they done it? How has a team that has looked so lifeless for two quarters suddenly sprung back to life? I don't have an answer for that. But, if you dive into the numbers, it’s amazing how dominant the Colts have been in those second halves.
In those five contests, Indianapolis has outscored their opponents 91-25 after halftime. They’ve allowed just one touchdown drive – in the third quarter in Detroit – in 29 possessions, putting together fourteen scoring drives while only yielding four. That number is even more staggering when you consider that the Colts defense has only forced five takeaways in those 29 possessions. The yardage total is equally shocking, as the Colts outgained their opponents 1,224-774 in those halves.
In all five games, the Colts have faced a situation where they’ve been tied or trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime. In those seven drives (two against Green Bay, and two at Tennessee), Andrew Luck is 30-48 for 355 yards (5 carries, 49 rush yards) and three touchdowns. If you include the Jacksonville loss and Minnesota win, which the Colts also found themselves either tied or trailing late, Luck is 34-58 for 511 yards in nine such drives. As Kyle Rodriguez of Colts Authority has pointed out, the Colts have a 89% success rate on those drives (8-for-9), with their lone miss coming in the waning seconds against Jacksonville.
Of all the on-the-field storylines of a surprising 2012 season, the Colts' uncanny ability to win eight of the nine games that have been decided by seven points or less has been the real difference. It's the reason they're a win away from the playoffs.