I have heard it said and even said it myself, more than once, this team cannot beat the big boys, we beat up on our lowly division foes and struggle vs the rest of the league, then I thought ....we have won some of those games, so I did some research, these are the results, each year vs teams that made the playoffs-that year:
2012: beat the vikings 23-20
beat the packers 30-27
lost to new england 59-24
lost to houston 29-17
beat houston 28-16
Luck's rookie year and a very stripped down team- beating anybody would be considered a plus, we started out beating the first 2 playoff teams we played, had our annual rout vs the p***'s, then split with houston....pretty good start, even more impressive considering the state of the roster. The point differential was a bit one sided, but the new england game had a lot to do with that.
2013: lost to the dolphins 24-20
beat san fran 27-7
beat seattle 34-28
beat the broncos 39-33
beat the chiefs 23-7
Luck's second year, more was expected and delivered, a close loss the dolphins, then a very impressive stretch vs 3 of the best teams in the league and several games weren't even close games. The point diff. was heavily in our favor
2014: lost to the broncos 31-24
beat the ravens 20-13
beat the bengals 27-0
lost to the steelers 51-34
lost to new england 42-20
lost to dallas 42-7
Colts:132-Opp-179 (last 3: 61-135)
Luck's 3rd year, even more was expected and it started out good, a close loss to the broncos and then 2 more wins.................this is when it started going backwards, 3 straight routs and we have yet to recover. The point differential was heavily against us and even moreso, in those routs.
I really don't know if it really means we have regressed, but it sure seems that way. From the start-up to those 3 routs our record was 9-4, take away the new england loss and then one vs houston, we were 7-2, with those 2 losses by a total of 10 points...pretty stout, in my opinion, then.....? It really doesn't make much sense, to come out of the gates, with a depleted roster, full of rookies and free agents and have that much sucess, follow that by an even better year #2, then follow that by starting out year #3, on a roll, then just lose it! The play this year has somewhat magnified that trend, by a slow start. Many have opinions on what's wrong, but if Pagano is the problem, we would have struggled every year, he has been here since the beginning. If it's Hamilton and/or Manusky, again, we would have struggled , each year. We have had sucess with all of those pieces in the mix (Hamilton came in year #2). It does appear, that the probable cause is the roster talent and the decisions made by Grigson have sent this team backwards, I did 2 blogs highlighting Grigson's drafts and free agent signings, the year #2 draft was almost non existent on a talent level and even year #3, wasn't that good. It does appear that those weak drafts and lack of enough significant free agents making an impact has made the overall talent level weaker...not better. I also know there are plenty of ways to view this and it could be any of several factors...but in my opinion, it does look like Grigson has not made the team better, that is his job, he has made it worse and the results do seem to indicate that. The draft is the best way to improve your roster, with the yearly additions to the talent level and then hitting on some key free agents, without those additions, the overall talent takes a hit and if the free agents, don't pan out.......you are in trouble.
I mentioned a few times recently that we are only a few really good players away from competing with the big boys (again) I know it's hindsight, but what if......
We pick an impact player in the first round, instead of Werner in 2013
We don't trade for Richardson and get an impact player in the first round 2014
We get an impact player in the first round in 2015 and not another WR
Do you think the talent level would be better? Very much so
Do you think the team would still be struggling? Maybe-prob not..........................