There are no excuses for the hideous numbers that the Indianapolis Colts have put up on defense this season.
Yes, they’ve played tough quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill, all of whom are among the league’s best. They’ve also been plagued by injuries in the secondary and had to dig deep into their depth chart. But notching multiple last-place rankings for a unit that finished in the middle of the pack for those same metrics just a season ago is indefensible.
It’s even more so uncharacteristic for defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who constantly talked about how this unit was ready for the challenge after losing linebacker Anthony Walker and pass rushers Justin Houston and Denico Autry.
But Indy has hit rock bottom through five weeks. Does that mean we’re going to witness a rebound of sorts?
The Indianapolis Colts defense is due for a rebound after sinking to the bottom of league ranks.
There may not be an easier defense to strategize against in the league right now. Send the football through the air and you’ll have a career day. Just ask Jackson and the Ravens. An average 124 opposing quarterback rating might even be bad enough to make Davis Mills look like the next MVP.
But there’s a silver lining in this disaster of defensive stats — it can’t get worse. Reaching the bottom of the pile is the best motivation for finding your way back up.
And what better time? Three of the Colts’ next five opponents are ranked among the bottom four in the NFL in total offense.
Their defensive incline has to start with the No. 29-ranked Texans this week. Mills, who would have been an easy target before last week, unfortunately had an incredible showing against the Patriots. But he’s still no Rookie of the Year candidate, and Houston averages fewer than 203 passing yards per game even with an outlier performance. Mills is the perfect victim to springboard Indy’s defense.
One thing Indianapolis has to do better is leverage their run defense. The Texans are especially bad at running the football, and if the Colts can make ground transportation impossible, they should have an easier time defending more desperate pass attempts.
There are a lot of “shoulds” and positive projections here, and at the end of the day the Colts defense might be damaged damaged enough to fail against the league’s better offenses. But perhaps a confidence booster in the form of this stretch could help them find a groove and get back on track before facing the Bills in late November.