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Low turnovers, low penalties means success

INDIANAPOLIS -- The result has been the same no matter who is on the field for the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts may have their issues in certain areas, but part of the reason they’ve been able to overcome those flaws and win double-digit games for the second straight season is because of their ability to protect the ball and limit penalties.

Indianapolis has turned the ball over a league-low 14 times this season. Carolina and Dallas are the next closest teams with 17 each.

The Colts have turned the ball over more than once in a game only twice. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw four interceptions in their 38-8 loss to St. Louis on Nov. 10 and they lost two fumbles in their 34-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 6.

Luck has thrown only nine interceptions, which is half of what he threw his rookie season.

The Colts have committed a league-low 64 penalties despite starting a different offensive line seven times this season.

“I think anything you emphasize, you’re going to get,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “We emphasize that, along with penalties, all the way back to training camp. We talk about penalties, not beating yourself, not shooting yourself in the foot, those types of things, taking care of the football, win the turnover battle.

“I always talk about if you’re plus-one, plus-two, plus-three, what your winning percentage is. Other than the score, it’s the second-most tell on wins and losses, is turnover margin. Coaches do a great job of teaching the fundamentals of how to take care of the football. The guys are paying attention to it.”