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INDIANAPOLIS — No one possessing an IQ higher than your average lava lamp could have possibly salivated over Weeks 15 and 16 when the Colts’ regular-season schedule was unveiled in April.
At Kansas City. Yip haw! Hosting Jacksonville. Yowza!
What looked then like afterthought matchups against downtrodden AFC franchises has blossomed in importance in recent weeks.
Indianapolis has just under three weeks to figure out if it will be Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde or both once the postseason begins.
Can it possibly return to being the product that dominated at San Francisco and won at home over Seattle and Denver? Or will we be treated to the cupcake that got steamrolled in embarrassing fashion by St. Louis, Arizona and Cincinnati?
Sunday’s 25-3 win against AFC South rival Houston raised as many questions as it answered.
Those are our Colts. Perplexing apparently all the way to the bitter (or magical) end.
Before we get carried away about what transpired Sunday, understand something: The Texans are 2-12 for a reason. Many, actually. There’s simply not enough space here to list them all.
Having written that, Indianapolis deserves credit for coming to play against an obviously inferior opponent.
Remember, this is a team that was supposed to crush St. Louis inside Lucas Oil Stadium back on Nov. 10 and win at Arizona two Sundays later. They instead twice were thrashed by a combined score of 78-19.
This ballclub remains a moving target, flashes of promise so often rinsed away by lackluster performances that make us wonder if this is, in fact, a playoff-worthy franchise.
It is by virtue of being in a horrible division, and right now that has to suffice.
Indianapolis scored 25 points against Houston, but 40 or more appeared there for the taking. The defense statistically was outstanding against a Texans offense reduced to second-teamers at quarterback, running back and tight end.
The Texans are also working under a lame-duck interim coach in Wade Phillips after the Dec. 6 firing of Gary Kubiak.
Not exactly a stable and confident unit. Or a very good one.
Meanwhile, all we truly know about the Colts is that we don’t really know them at all.
There was an offensive sequence midway through the second quarter Sunday that essentially summarized Indy’s 14 weeks of inconsistency.
The Colts had first and goal at the Houston 2 when running back Trent Richardson was stuffed for a 2-yard loss. A motion penalty moved the football back to the 9, making it appear Indianapolis would again have to settle for yet another Adam Vinatieri field goal.
A flip pass from quarterback Andrew Luck to Richardson on the ensuing play completely fooled the Houston defense.
There it was, all in one brief sequence: poor execution, a mental blunder, imaginative play calling and a touchdown.
Our Colts. You gotta love ‘em.
But the same youthful nature that at times makes them unpredictable is what could make them legitimately dangerous in the coming weeks. The team no one wants to play.
The AFC doesn’t have anything even closely resembling a Super Bowl lock. New England and Denver are beatable, and Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since 1990.
Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City are teams Indianapolis can beat regardless of stadium or weather conditions.
Next week is crucial in that a truckload of confidence comes the Colts’ way should they win at Kansas City.
It would be interesting to see how far it could take them.
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