Here’s why the Colts being without DT DeForest Buckner on Sunday shouldn’t incite trepidation.
The Indianapolis Colts have come a long way in the injury department since the start of the regular season, when numerous vital players on both sides of the ball were either declared out for the year or faced multi-week absences.
While every player in the NFL is experiencing discomfort in some form at this stage of the campaign, fans can take serious comfort knowing that the Colts’ injury report is extremely limited heading into Sunday’s colossal showdown against Houston.
One of the players featured is defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who didn’t practice on Friday due to an ankle injury and is in serious danger of missing out. While that might seem worrisome in the eyes of some fans, here’s why it isn’t as daunting as you might think.
As we know, Buckner, along with a handful of other players, missed Week 12 vs Tennessee and the Titans went on to absolutely shre Indianapolis on the ground en route to a blowout win. We hate to bring up bad memories, but running back Derrick Henry compiled 178 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 6.6 yards per attempt in that game.
It sounds ironic, but those stats are precisely why Colts fans should feel optimistic about this weekend — because Houston can’t run the ball to save their life. Despite trading for David Johnson last offseason, they currently rank dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (86.2) and 26th in yards per carry (3.88).
This obviously isn’t to say that Buckner doesn’t mean everything to the Colts defense. In 12 games, the former No. 7 overall pick has registered 48 tackles (six for loss), 4.5 sacks, 20 QB hits and a forced fumble, numbers that have rightfully seen him generate an immaculate 89.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.
However, given how lifeless the Texans’ rushing attack has been this season, Indianapolis should be able to survive life without their stalwart pass rusher this week if he were to miss the action.
As much as it would thrill Deshaun Watson to play spoiler against a division rival, we simply can’t picture a scenario where he overcomes a depleted roster and defeated teammates — who are clearly ready for the offseason — even without the fear of Buckner breathing down his neck.