INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck has no problem doing his homework.
He’d just like to pack up the lessons, put them in a suitcase and pull them out whenever the Colts hit the road.
I wish I had all the answers, the Colts’ quarterback said Wednesday. I think we just need a little more focus, we need to substitute that energy we get from the home crowd and take that on the road.
Make no mistake, Indianapolis has already exceeded most preseason expectations.
Only three AFC teams – division leaders Houston, Baltimore and New England – have more wins than the Colts (3-3), and Indianapolis has already surpassed its victory total from last season. Luck has matched his predecessor, Peyton Manning, victory for victory, including wins over surprising Minnesota and Super Bowl-contender Green Bay.
It’s been good enough to hear words such as playoffs and phrases such as in the hunt emanating from this increasingly confident locker room.
But to continue on this course, the Colts know they need to get better outside their home venue, a quest that continues Sunday at Tennessee (3-4).
We have to find ways to overcome adversity on the field. It’s easy to win at home, it’s tough to win on the road, defensive end Cory Redding said. If you don’t win on the road, you don’t get into the playoffs, period.
The disparity in Indianapolis’ home-road splits has been glaring.
At home, Luck has won three times, led two winning drives, escaped pressure, made accurate throws on the run and been a steadying influence in the huddle and in the pocket. On the road, he’s thrown five interceptions and had two fumbles in two blowout losses.
It’s all part of the learning process.
When you’re on the road, OK is not good enough, Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney said. I think when you’re home and you have the home-field advantage, sometimes things bounce your way. On the road, you need something extra.
The Colts are minus-9 in turnover margin but are just minus-1 at home, and while the defense allowed the Bears and Jets to run for 183 yards per game, opponents have averaged just 119 yards rushing in the four home games.
You’ve got to do more than your job, interim coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. We’ve got to make something happen.
But Luck and the Colts understand the point Arians and others are trying to make: If they want to stay in contention for a playoff spot, they must fix their road woes now.