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INDIANAPOLIS – The numbers are astonishing.

 

Through the first two weeks of the NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts are 20-of-33 on third down.

 

That 60.6 conversion rate is tops in the NFL, and it’s not even close.

 

With a 52.2 percent rate, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ryan Fitzmagic) rank second. It’s a massive gap between first and second when it comes to the money down.

 

While moving past the actual first-down marker secures the conversion, the work being done on first and second down is why the Colts have had such an impressive mark.

 

Consider the breakdown on their 20 conversions on third down and 13 failed attempts:

 

-On the 20 conversions, the Colts have needed 3.8 yards to gain.

 

-On the 13 failed conversions, the Colts have needed 8.5 yards to gain.

 

“That’s the reason for it,” rookie running back Jordan Wilkins says of the Colts’ early down production, leading to the extremely impressive third down percentage.

 

“That’s a huge part of it,” Frank Reich says of staying ahead of the chains. “Every year, it’s directly proportional. Keeping that in third and manageables is very key.”

 

How impressive were the Colts getting (and converting) in short yardage in their win over the Washington Football Team?

 

The Colts were 8-of-8 when faced with a down-and-distance of 3rd-and-3 or shorter.

 

“That’s insane.” Reich said of the perfect afternoon in third-and-shorts.

 

On the money down, even in short yardage, the Colts have been much more likely to throw the football. Of the Colts’ league-best 20 third-down conversions (no one else has more than 14), they’ve only converted 3 via the run.

 

The Colts’ first two games have seen them convert 64.7 percent (11-of-17) and 56.3 percent (9-of-16), respectively, of their third downs.

 

Those are the highest single-game numbers for the Colts since the 2016 season opener.

 

Thanks goes to the likes of Andrew Luck’s return, a head coach with terrific offensive philosophy and early-down success.

 

“That’s being productive, that’s running the ball efficiently on first down, that’s being efficient in the pass game, and that’s not getting negative,” Reich says.