3 big concerns Colts still have after Sunday’s huge win
2. Defense has been inconsistent
Fans will remember that the Indianapolis Colts defense sealed the win for the team when Rodney McLeod picked off Mahomes on their last drive of the game. Mind you, this was a nine-yard pass with two seconds to play in the game as Kansas City was trying to force the action. Stephon Gilmore was able to tip the pass and McLeod came down with the pick. This was a great play and many are thankful it ended this way, but that doesn’t excuse the other issues on defense.
Many players aren’t living up to their hype or price tag on the defensive end. Prior to this game, the secondary hadn’t made a big play and let two second-year quarterbacks tear them apart. In this game, Mahomes still threw for 263 yards and a touchdown. Gilmore had the tip at the end but needs to improve vastly if he is supposed to be the premiere corner for this team. Isaiah Rodgers finally saw the field and played well which may force others to step up.
Rookie safety Nick Cross made headlines as he beat out the field to be named the Colts’ starting safety, however, the past few games have seen his snap count decrease and the veteran McLeod’s have increased. Again, McLeod was on the field for the final play whereas Cross was not. Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley was asked about this and said, “It really wasn’t anything he (Cross) did. We just felt like in the situation we were going into with the communication that needs to take place that maybe Rodney’s (McLeod) experience might help us a little bit more.” Maybe the defense needed to mix it up in the hopes that others will step up.
However, the bigger issue lies with the defensive line. Although the run defense has been superb, limiting Kanas City to 58 yards on the ground on 23 carries, they still need to apply more pressure on the quarterback. Mahomes is a very elusive quarterback, but Trevor Lawrence and David Mills weren’t. Indianapolis struggled to get pressure in those games and did so again on Sunday. Mahomes was sacked once for a loss of five yards. The Colts invested in their defensive line in the offseason via trades, free agency, and the draft, but I hope we haven’t seen the best of this line.
Learning a new scheme has to be difficult and the players and coaches are still adjusting to each other. While this game was a step in the right direction, the road doesn’t get any easier. Against the Titans, Ryan Tannehill isn’t near the tier of quarterback Mahomes is but still needs to be pressured for the Colts to have success. Their offense plays heavily into the run game, and why wouldn’t you with Derrick Henry, but that is one area Indy seems to be doing well in. It obviously can’t be that hard to get pressure on the quarterback, just look at what our offensive line has done so far this season.