Oct 6, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden (93) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis, IN – The Indianapolis Colts have put together a very solid offense, but the defense is what will win them big games down the stretch of the season. During the Sunday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos this past week, that statement was made perfectly clear. The Colts were able to hit Peyton Manning ten times, sack him four, and forced a safety and interception thanks to that pass rush.
While the secondary has had some issues stopping opposing quarterbacks, they showed up and played a very good game on Sunday night. Peyton Manning was still able to put up good numbers, but the Colts did the best job that any team has done on him to this point this year. They forced him to make inaccurate passes and make uncharacteristic mistakes.
The Colts have arguably the best pass-rusher in the NFL this season in Robert Mathis, and are learning to use him better each week. He’s becoming the play-maker that Dwight Freeney used to be for the Colts and could very well be a front-runner for the Defensive Player of the Year award once the season comes to a close if he keeps this level of play up.
As we mentioned earlier, the Indianapolis secondary has had some issues against opposing passing attacks. They certainly have the ability to become a lockdown group, but they have to figure things out and work together. Vontae Davis played perhaps the best game of his career with the Colts on Sunday night, and is hoping to build off of it. Greg Toler has shown the ability to be a play-maker through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, but has also gotten beat because of the gambles that he takes from time to time. Antoine Bethea is one of the best safeties in the NFL and has great play-making ability as well. Finally, LaRon Landry is one of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the NFL and is a great play-maker in his own respect.
Indianapolis also has a great group of linebackers. Pat Angerer and Jerrell Freeman lead the way and have put up great numbers all season. When healthy, Angerer has the talent of a top-15 NFL linebacker, but injuries have held him back in a big way. Freeman is becoming a very solid pass-rusher and is a sure tackler as well. Erick Walden is beginning to come into his own in Indianapolis as well and will be a dangerous pass-rusher as well as the season progresses.
Overall, this Colts team is built to go as far as the defense is able to take them. They will never be a lockdown defense, but they are more than capable of making plays and forcing turnovers. Andrew Luck and the offense will put up consistent numbers per game, but the defense has to keep the opposing offense off the field and off the board. That being said, the Colts have put together a defense that has the potential to be an above average defense if they live up to their potential.