We've all heard the old cliche "numbers never lie." Hell, ESPN even has a show based on that very premise.
But if that's the general rule, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are the exception to it.
The Colts currently sit with a 9-4 record and hold the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race. But the fact of the matter is, based on some of their numbers as a collective unit, they have absolutely no business being in the position they are in.
Let's start with Andrew Luck, a guy who not only seems to be in the driver's seat as far as the Rookie of the Year Award goes, but actually has some people believing he should be one of the front-runners for the Most Valuable Player Award as well.
|Photo by: Andy Lyons|
Still, Luck's numbers in no way, shape, or form reflect those of a legit MVP candidate. And quite frankly, given the way fellow rookies Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have played this season, they're not good enough to have Luck at the front of the pack as far as the Rookie of the Year Award goes either.
Luck has completed less than 55% of his passes this season, while Griffin and Wilson are both over 63%. Luck leads the league with 27 total turnovers, including 18 interceptions, while RG3 and Wilson combined only have 20 turnovers, 13 being picks. Luck's quarterback rating is under 75, while Griffin and Wilson both rank in the top 10 with ratings over 94.
Oh, and Luck's team isn't doing anything that Griffin's and Wilson's isn't -- with all three right in the middle of the postseason hunt.
Granted, Luck has thrown for a lot of yards and led some 4th quarter comebacks, but in most cases, the reason Indy fell behind in the first place was because of multiple turnovers on his part, and they had to throw the football more because they were trailing.
All of these numbers and facts somehow equate to Luck being the Rookie of the Year front-runner and a Most Valuable Player of the entire league candidate?
And it's not just Luck's stats that aren't adding up. Indy's team stats as a whole don't add up whatsoever.
The Colts are 9-4, yet they rank 23rd in total team defense, 29th in giveaway/takeaway turnover differential, and 22nd in total rushing offense. Three huge team stats as far as wins and losses usually go, and they rank far below average in all three.
Those numbers indicate their record should be more like 4-9 or 3-10. Yet, it isn't. Why?
I have a theory.
Had coach Chuck Pagano not been stricken with cancer, Indy would have probably been completely irrelevant this season. Sure, they would have picked up a couple of nice wins, and Luck would have put up his fair share of numbers, but in general, the Colts would have been the team that most expected them to be -- a rebuilding one.
However, given Pagano's situation, this group has found something to truly rally behind and believe in, and that has helped to elevate their play when they've needed it most. That little extra something has put a lot more fight in them. They want to win for their coach, and that internal drive is something that can't be measured on a stat sheet or game log.
Simply put, it's the x-factor.
So what's my point in all of this? Well the point is this -- Indy's quarterback isn't playing anywhere near as well as everyone would like to believe, and in general, the Colts are nowhere near as good as their record indicates.
Apparently, they don't have to be though. After all, they're the only team in the NFL with Luck on their side.