'Time to put these horses down?' Colts tumble in NFL rankings

The Indianapolis Colts hit the (almost) quarter pole of season looking up at most of the NFL.

Offensive struggles have left them with a 1-2-1 record, and early optimism has mostly faded among national observers.

Here's where the Colts stand entering Week 5.

Observation from former Colts QB Dan Orlovsky

Short turnaround:Colts vs. Broncos odds, injuries, weather for Thursday Night Football on Amazon

Who steps up?:How the Colts will replace Jonathan Taylor (ankle) if he can't play vs. Broncos

Injury note: Leonard out for Thursday’s game vs. Broncos due to concussion

Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: 28th this week, down 5 places from last week

What is it that the Colts do really well right now? They can’t beat you with their passing game, they struggle to protect their ancient quarterback, they don’t move the ball on the ground (and now Jonathan Taylor is injured) and their special teams has already cost them one win. Their run defense entered Week 4 as a bright spot, but even that was exposed by Derrick Henry, who piled up 99 yards in the first half alone in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Titans. Have we mentioned Shaquille Leonard has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against the Broncos with a concussion? I don’t mean to be a downer here … but the vibes … they’re no good in Indy.

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: 25th, down 7

The win over the Chiefs was an aberration.

Nate Davis, USA TODAY: 28th, down 12

Time to put these horses down, especially with LB Shaquille Leonard out with a concussion? Wait, we have to watch them on Thursday night?

Frank Schwab, Yahoo: 20th, down 7

Jonathan Taylor hasn't been ruled out of Thursday's game, but he has an ankle injury and a short turnaround. If Taylor can't play or is less than 100 percent, the Colts offense will struggle. And it's hard to imagine this team struggling much more than it has. Then again, Taylor hasn't done much either this season. It's all a mess for Indianapolis.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: 26th, down 8

What was that? The Colts are seeing Matt Ryan play better, but their blocking is off and now a slumping Jonathan Taylor is injured. Even more disappointing than all that is the defense, given Shaquille Leonard not being able to contribute.

Walter Football: 23rd, down 2

The Colts are no longer overrated after losing to the Titans at home. They're not a bad team, but they need to stop giving teams easy situations with their killer lost fumbles. Matt Ryan has allowed opponents to score three touchdowns off fumbles the past two weeks.

Austin Gayle, The Ringer: 18th, down 2

The Colts have to protect Matt Ryan and stop turning the ball over if they want a shot at the postseason. Ryan ranks 10th in EPA per dropback when kept clean, but second-to-last in EPA per dropback when pressured. The offense has also turned the ball over nine times, tied for the second-highest total in the league. Star running back Jonathan Taylor, who suffered an ankle injury last week, is tied for third in carries (81) through four games, but his efficiency behind the Colts’ underperforming offensive line is disastrous. He averaged just 2.1 yards per carry in the Week 4 loss against Tennessee and ranks just 20th in yards per carry (4.05) among backs with 40-plus carries on the season. There’s a path to success for Indianapolis, but there might be too many obstacles in front of them to actually get there in time to salvage their 1-2-1 start.

Bleacher Report: 22nd, down 6

As rough as the Colts have looked so far this season, the team is still just a half-game back in the NFL's worst division. Two of their next three games are against the two teams ahead of them — home against the Jaguars in Week 6 and at Tennessee the following week.

But given how the team has played so far in 2022, it's hard to be confident in their ability to right the ship.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indianapolis Colts in Week 5 NFL power rankings