Week 1 Grade: Indianapolis Colts Defense

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Todd Gurley
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Todd Gurley /

The Colts spent plenty of resources in an attempt to upgrade their defense, but those new additions weren’t up to par in Week 1.

New general manager Chris Ballard made defense a clear focus this offseason bringing in multiple new starters in free agency, and spending their first three draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. The Colts’ new-look D will need time to gel, and that was apparent on Sunday.


At first glance, it looks like the Colts gave up 46 points to an offense that ranked dead last in 2016 according to Football Outsiders. However, the Rams scored 14 points courtesy of two Scott Tolzien pick-6’s and tacked on another 2 points with a late-game safety.

The Rams still moved the ball at will against a Colts defense that was missing their best player in Vontae Davis. They allowed second-year quarterback Jared Goff to enjoy the first 300-yard passing day of his career against a banged up and inexperienced secondary.

One bright spot for the defense was holding the Rams to only 63 yards rushing on 1.9 yards per carry. Todd Gurley has not looked like the same runner that won Rookie of the Year in 2015, and the Colts’ defense totally shut him down on Sunday.

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Newly-acquired free agent pass rushers Jabaal Sheard and John Simon failed to have an immediate impact as the Colts only sacked Jared Goff one time during the entire game. Indianapolis will probably have to come up with creative ways to pressure the quarterback if their edge rushers are unable to win on their own.

While the run defense saves them from earning an F, giving up over 300 yards passing won’t win you many games in the NFL.