Matt Eberflus calls out Colts defense for poor first-half performances vs Browns and Bengals

Colts DC Matt Eberflus (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Colts DC Matt Eberflus (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Colts DC Matt Eberflus called out the defense for its awful first-half performances against the Browns and Bengals.

If the Indianapolis Colts have any shot at making the playoffs, they simply need to get off to better starts in games. In Week 5 against Cleveland, they fell down 20-10 at halftime and were somehow fortunate the deficit wasn’t greater. A week later versus a vastly inferior Bengals side, the Colts found themselves staring a 21-point deficit in the face just seconds into the second quarter.

With the schedule beefing up significantly in November — matchups with Baltimore, Tennessee (twice) and Green Bay await — Indianapolis cannot afford to dig themselves colossal holes in the first half. Teams like the Ravens, Titans and Packers are not only championship contenders, but each of them are built to sustain leads and wouldn’t think of letting the Colts muster a comeback.

As much as the offense has struggled to establish the run and control time of position, this problem lies squarely on the defense for not offering up a semblance of resistance out of the gates the last two games.

Well, with a huge game vs Detroit up next on Sunday following the bye, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus didn’t hesitate in taking the defense (and himself) to task during his latest video conference with reporters.

Some members of the defense have pointed to miscommunication issues as the biggest problem in the first half against the Browns and Bengals, and Eberflus essentially cleared by the air by asserting that coaches and players are all in lockstep in terms of what plays are being called.

"“I think that’s really the wrong word,” Eberflus told reporters on Tuesday. “When you say miscommunication, that means I’m saying this and it’s, ‘I thought you said that.’ Well, that’s not what is happening. It’s execution. Meaning that we need to execute calls and be on the same page in those calls. That’s coach and player and player and coach.“We need to make sure we are executing the call and the technique that is required for the call. That’s again, focus by coach and player during the course of the week and making sure we do that and that’s also on me to make sure it is set up that way. We accept all responsibilities, player and coach, coach and player and we are going to improve on that going forward.”"

Per Andrew Walker of, Indianapolis allowed 20 points, 284 total yards and an impossible 16 first downs in the first half against Cleveland, and responded by conceding 24 points, 230 yards and 13 first downs in the same duration vs Cincinnati.

The Lions are undoubtedly the softest matchup on the Colts’ schedule this month, but Detroit’s offense has quietly scored over 20 points in all of their games this season. By no means will this be an easy game for Indy, and it goes without saying that all eyes will be on the defense to see how it responds after two abysmal first-half performances in a row.