Colts: Rock Ya-Sin’s impressive season overshadowed by team’s failures
By Jerry Trotta
Remember during the offseason when the Indianapolis Colts were being pegged as a potential threat to win the AFC? That seems like ages ago, as Indy’s season is coming off the rails after their Week 3 loss to Tennessee.
While the schedule lightens up in a few weeks, they could potentially be 0-5 entering Week 6 with Miami and Baltimore next up on the docket.
Positives have been hard to come by for the Colts through three weeks. The offensive line has been a disaster. Jonathan Taylor somehow has just 171 rushing yards. Even Darius Leonard has underperformed.
You know who’s been a surprise standout thus far, though? Rock Ya-Sin, and he stayed hot on Sunday by forcing a fumble and holding up well in coverage.
Unfortunately for Ya-Sin, his unforeseen resurgence has mostly gone unnoticed due to the Colts’ early-season failures.
Rock Ya-Sin’s hot start to 2021 has been overshadowed by the Colts’ 0-3 record.
There are plenty of negatives surrounding the Colts right now, and reporters and fans will likely harp on them until they start seeing some wins. However, Ya-Sin deserves some praise for stepping up in a make-or-break year.
Late in the third quarter, Tennessee was driving deep inside Colts territory and seemed poised to extend their 14-13 lead with a touchdown. With the defense in need of a turnover, Ya-Sin came through with a textbook strip on Nick Westbrook.
The Colts ended up punting and the Titans scored on their next possession, but this was a game-saving play from Ya-Sin in that moment. It’s not his fault the offense once again couldn’t move the ball.
For the game, Ya-Sin was Indy’s highest-graded defensive player, earning an 89.4 mark from Pro Football Focus. He played just 48% of the snaps, which was down from a 98% share in Week 2. While the secondary as a whole improved on Sunday, Ya-Sin certainly earned more playing time with this performance.
It’s not a stretch to say that Ya-Sin has been the Colts’ second-best defender through three games. Only DeForest Buckner, who’s been the sole pass rusher capable of generating pressure thus far, has played better.
That’s a pretty impressive feat for a player who countless fans wrote off after his disaster sophomore campaign in 2020. Over 145 snaps, Ya-Sin has allowed just five receptions, equating to a tidy 73.7 coverage grade from PFF.
The young corner still has a lot to prove before Indy should even consider extending his contract, which expires after next year. However, he’s been one of the few bright spots in a season that’s spiraling out of control for the Colts.