Indianapolis Colts: Matt Hasselbeck has been the savior

The Indianapolis Colts have had their season and playoff hopes in 2015 kept alive by an unlikely player.

It hasn’t been the normal season for Andrew Luck and the Colts, as, after 10 games, the Colts have a 5-5 record, and have struggled a lot this season.  It was less than one year ago that the Colts were playing the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, but this Colts team is in a fight with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC South crown.

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A good part of the reason for the Colts’ struggles has been the down season for their quarterback. Luck may be one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, but this season he hasn’t played like an elite quarterback.

In 2015, Luck has totaled 1,881 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Injuries have played a part in Luck’s struggles this season, but his team has played surprisingly well with him on the sideline.

Nov 22, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) attempts a pass in the first quarter of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Hasselbeck has been the backup quarterback in Indianapolis since 2012, and up until this season hasn’t had to start a game with Luck as the starter. Despite not making a start in over two years, Hasselbeck has been forced to start in three games this season, and he shockingly has a perfect record.

It is very rare to see a team actually have a better record with their backup quarterback in the game, as generally it is a crushing blow to a team’s season.

Hasselbeck made his first start of the season against the Jaguars in ear;y October and wasted little time knocking the rust off. In the overtime win, Hasselbeck totaled 282 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and 47 pass attempts. Usually with a backup quarterback, teams tend to limit the amount of passes he throws, but that was clearly not the case with Hasselbeck.

On a short week after the win against the Jaguars, Hasselbeck would once again lead the Colts to a win as they defeated the Texans. Hasselbeck played very well once again in the win, as he totaled 213 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.

Luck would return after the win against the Texans, and the Colts went on to lose three straight games against the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers. The Colts would snap their three-game losing streak with a win against the Denver Broncos, but Luck was once again injured in the game. In the win, Luck suffered a lacerated kidney which will keep him out until mid-December.

Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, Hasselbeck was once again starting for the injured Luck, and he was able to keep his record perfect with a tough road win.

The Colts aren’t running away with the AFC South like they expected this season, but even with Luck injured, they still have a very good chance to make the playoffs with Hasselbeck leading them.

Hasselbeck and the Colts will be facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12, who are also fighting for a playoff spot led by their young quarterback Jameis Winston in a fun matchup of young vs. old quarterbacks.