So far this year the Colts have run the ball well. But in doing so they have essentially handcuffed their best player. In order to truly reach their ceiling - and in order to beat the Broncos on Sunday - the Colts are going to need to take the handcuffs off and put more in their franchise quarterback's hands. The Colts' loss to the Chargers was ugly. It was bad. The Colts were outplayed and outcoached in almost every area. One of the few positions the Colts weren't bad at was at quarterback. Of course. But Monday night's debacle should serve as a warning to the Colts: they're setting themselves up to fail if they continue down this course. I know I'm overreacting to this but not to the fact that if the Colts want to win on Sunday against the Denver Broncos (and trust me they do) they need to take the handcuffs off of Andrew Luck. They need to let him fly. Look the Colts' offense has actually been successful this year especially in the run game that Chuck Pagano and Pep Hamilton so much wanted to implement. The Colts' rushing attack ranks 8th in the NFL with 130.6 yards per game. The Colts as a team (including Luck) are averaging 4.7 yards per carry and scored 7 times on the ground. They've been successful there. But should we just automatically buy into that and assume the Colts are doing it perfectly right now? A simple glance at the Colts' passing ranking destroys that idea. With a guy that most consider to be playing top five football right now and some even believe is the second best quarterback in football the Colts have the 23rd ranked passing offense with 231.8 yards per game. You want the list of the primary/starting quarterbacks for the teams ranked above the Colts in pass yards per game? Here you go: Peyton Manning Matt Ryan Drew Brees Aaron Rodgers Philip Rivers Matthew Stafford Ben Roethlisberger Eli Manning Michael Vick Robert Griffin III Tony Romo Joe Flacco Jay Cutler Matt Schaub Ryan Tannehill Andy Dalton Brian Hoyer / Brandon Weeden Carson Palmer Tom Brady Sam Bradford Christian Ponder / Matt Cassel and Geno Smith. All of them quarterback a team who is ranked higher than the Colts in passing yards per game. And the Colts are right around the middle of the pack in terms of points per game. The run game worked at San Francisco in pulling a big upset over the 49ers. But a large part of that was after the Colts had already gotten a lead. The balance on the season in terms of run/pass ratio is actually right where you want it to be: 62% pass plays 38% run plays. That's pass-balanced by all means. But consider the fact that in four of six games this year the Colts have trailed in the fourth quarter. In two of them Luck pulled out the comeback but it also means that at the end of games the Colts have had to be throwing a lot. That obviously drives the passing numbers up and it also means that something didn't work that great in the first three quarters. Peyton Manning has said that "You hear about how many fourth quarter comebacks that a guy has and I think it means a guy screwed up in the first three quarters." Of the plays there has been a called pass play 48 of them have come in the fourth quarter this year and another 14 of them have come in a two-minute situation at the end of the first half. That's 62 passing plays in obvious passing situations or 28 percent of Luck's dropbacks this season. The Colts need to do a better job integrating the passing game throughout the game. Jon Gruden even noted it on ESPN's broadcast of the game Monday night that "it seems they wait until they are behind and then put the ball in Luck's hands." That is very true. It's not about the run/pass ratio. It's about the run/pass balance. It's about mixing things up. It's about giving Andrew Luck more responsibility. It's about the principle of the thing: place the game in the hands of your best player. The Colts have proven that they can run the ball to stay in a game. They've done that well this year. But really for the most part they've won because of Andrew Luck first and foremost.