So far, the Colts’ pass rush has done a great job getting to the quarterback. It’s surprising why that has been the case though.
The Colts were expected to have an improved pass rush. Adding a guy like Justin Houston at defensive end was supposed to help increase their front four rush. It has, but not because of Houston. A lot of their sacks have been helped by solid play in the secondary.
There have been 8 sacks by the defense so far. Of those sacks, only half of them can be attributed to blitzes or the front four getting penetration. The other half is because of great coverage down the field that didn’t allow the quarterback to throw the ball anywhere.
Take last Sunday for example. The sack that Darius Leonard had was all on the secondary. Marcus Mariota dropped back to pass and didn’t find anyone. Leonard was spying on Mariota. When he noticed no running backs coming out for a route, he ran and got the sack.
But sacks from spies take time. Leonard had to diagnose the play first and then react. Mariota had about four seconds to figure out what to do with the ball. There was no one open, and Leonard was able to be the beneficiary getting the sack.
This isn’t to say that the front four hasn’t done a good job. Denico Autry wrecked the backfield on his sack on Sunday. Houston did the same in his sack in the opener. But a good portion of the sacks so far have to be credited to the secondary as coverage sacks.
That needs to be the case this week against Atlanta too. They have a couple of dynamic receivers that the secondary has to focus on. Sacks will be a big story in this game as they have been in the first two of the season.