The defense for the Indianapolis Colts has been good this season but they’ll need to be even better if Indy is going to win more games.
Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles was another impressive outing for the Indianapolis Colts’ defense. Although Indy ultimately lost 17-16, the defense was able to limit an explosive Philly offense to just 17 points and 284 yards. The points were a season-low for the Eagles and the yardage was the second-lowest amount they’ve had in a game all season. However, Philadelphia still won the game.
A lot of that is because the Colts’ offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. They did score 16 points but the offense only had one touchdown and also fumbled the ball twice, and Chase McLaughlin missed a field goal. That left the door open for the Eagles and Philly snuck back in and stole the game. The lack of offensive production allowed a good defensive game to slip away for Indy.
As underwhelming as the Colts were offensively on Sunday, this is what everyone expects from them. The offense hasn’t been good or consistent all season. They are averaging just 15.7 points a game, second-worst in the NFL, and they’ve endured a lot of personnel change. 11 Weeks into the season, it’s time to accept that the offense is what it is. Expectations are low for Indy’s offense, however, they remain high for the defense. Is it possible to expect even more from a defensive unit that has already given so much?
Can the defense find ways to win for Colts?
It may be somewhat unfair to ask the defense to carry Indianapolis’ offense entirely but what other options does Indy really have? When things get tough, a team has to rely on its strengths. For the Colts, the strength is the defense, so they’ll be relied on to win games. Fortunately, there is actually more that can be done by the defense.
As good as Indianapolis has been defensively, they haven’t been perfect. While they aren’t nearly as bad as the offense, that shouldn’t excuse the fact that there’s room for improvement. Sunday against the Eagles was a great example of that. The defense was essentially lights out for three quarters but a lackluster fourth quarter helped them lose the game.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Colts were leading 13-3. Indy’s defense gave up 14 points in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t like the points came on short drives, either, where Philly was capitalizing on an offensive or special teams mistake. Philly’s first touchdown drive came on a five-play, 60-yard drive. The second came on an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Regardless of how good a defense was in the first three quarters, giving up 14 points, on two full drives, in the fourth quarter isn’t acceptable.
This is similar to how Indy lost in Week 9 to the Washington Commanders, and it’s also what almost happened against the Las Vegas Raiders if it wasn’t for a clutch game-winning drive from the offense. The way to fix that is to consistently generate a better pass rush and also find ways to take the ball away even more. Late in games is when a team’s pass rush should be at its best, however, opposing quarterbacks have been having a ton of time in the pocket in the clutch.
Obviously, the defense will not be perfect, but it can be better in clutch moments and that will help Indianapolis overcome its struggling offense.