The Colts have had a lot of questions on the defensive side of the football this preseason. How did that unit do against the 49ers on Saturday?
Defense wins championships. It’s an old adage that still rings true today. You have to have a strong defense to contend in January. The Colts have struggled with that unit thus far in the preseason, so they had a lot to prove against the 49ers. How well did they perform?
The defensive line has struggled to consistently get push into the backfield and disrupt the quarterback. They did a decent job of that Saturday. Garoppolo was never super comfortable in the pocket, and they were able to make him throw on the run. Although the starting unit didn’t record any sacks, the backups eventually did later. They still need help stopping the run in a big way though.
Darius Leonard had another solid game and almost had a red zone pick. That saves this grade from being lower. The linebackers had huge issues stopping running backs once they got to the second level. They allowed the Niners to rush for 126 yards. This has been a theme all preseason and looks like it will continue into the regular season as well.
This was by far the best effort from the secondary. They were no doubt helped by the debut of Malik Hooker, who played very well in his first game action. The secondary did a good job of blanketing receivers and knocking down passes. They didn’t allow a single passing touchdown throughout the game.
Having the secondary play that well in the dress rehearsal for the regular season is big. They can’t rush the quarterback, but having good coverage down the field minimizes the amount of big plays a team can have.
The starting defense played better than expected and only allowed 6 points in the first half. Hopefully they can build on that performance going into the regular season.