INDIANAPOLIS – The 2016 season came to a close on Sunday for the Colts in a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jaguars.
Down 17-0, the Colts salvaged a .500 season with Andrew Luck leading his 18th career-game winning touchdown drive.
The Colts (8-8) finished 2016 in third place in the AFC South and missed the playoffs for a second straight season.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
MATHIS FINAL DANCE – In a fitting way to cap his 14-year career, Robert Mathis found his way into one more strip/sack on Sunday. It was the 47th career strip/sack for Mathis, padding his NFL record. It was an emotional afternoon for Mathis as he concluded a career that started as an undersized fifth-round pick in 2003 out of Alabama A&M.
COLTS REBOUND FROM “HORRENDOUS” START – Down 17-0 in Sunday’s second quarter, the Colts were looking at being swept by the Jaguars for just the second time in franchise history. After a “non repeatable” halftime speech, the Colts got back into the game with two touchdowns in the third quarter. Andrew Luck led a final-minute touchdown drive with Andrew Luck going 6-of-6 for 70 yards and a one-yard TD toss to the reliable Jack Doyle with 14 seconds left.
GORE, HILTON REACH MILESTONES – The big individual milestones coming into Week 17 were reached by the Colts. Frank Gore’s 62 rushing yards gave him 1,025 for the season. He became the first Colt since 2007 to reach 1,000 yards. T.Y. Hilton won the NFL’s receiving title, finishing the season with a career-high 1,445 receiving yards.
RUN DEFENSE ISSUES – Without D’Qwell Jackson in closing the regular season, the run defense really struggled. The Jaguars piled up 182 rushing yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. This comes a week after the Colts allowed Oakland to run for more than 200 yards.
OFF-SEAOSN WATCH – The Colts will gather on Monday for the final time this season. Meetings and locker clean out will signify the end of the 2016 campaign for the Colts. There will be plenty of questions for the Colts to answer in 2017 as the team will be trying to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
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This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is running back Robert Turbin.
If we were picking a yearlong winner for this award, Turbin would have to be the vote.
No player on the Indy roster this year filled his role better than the fifth-year running back.
Whether it’s short yardage, pass protecting on third down or making plays in the passing game, Turbin has finally given the Colts a productive backup running back.
In Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, Turbin once again found the end zone while excelling in short yardage situations.
Turbin finished 2016 with seven rushing touchdowns and one receiving score.
It’s going to be a very interesting off-season for Turbin.
When Turbin signed a one-year deal with the Colts last spring, he expressed a desire to one day become a starting running.
Well, with Frank Gore still under contract, a chance at that in Indianapolis appears to be on hold through 2017.
The question for Turbin now becomes what does the open market look like for him. If there are no realistic starting chances elsewhere, the fit in Indy was pretty seamless in 2016.
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