Colts were let down by one of their greatest strengths against the Steelers

The Indianapolis Colts dropped a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night after a reliable strength went missing.

On Monday night, the Indianapolis Colts lost another game. Falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-17, Indy now has seven losses on the season after playing in just 12 games. That gives the Colts a 4-7-1 record entering Week 13, not something many expected at the start of the year. However, that’s the reality for Indianapolis and it was clear on Monday night that the team has a lot of problems.

That was also clear before Monday’s game. The Colts entered the game at a mediocre 4-6-1 because they’ve been having a lot of issues all season. However, Indy has also had some strengths. The majority of the strengths for Indianapolis have been on the defensive side of the ball, with multiple defenders having career years. That’s why the Colts entered Monday’s game with one of the top defenses in the league. Unfortunately, Indy was let down by that defense on Monday, specifically in the run game.

Colts’ run defense disappeared against Steelers

Yes, Indy’s offense is far more embarrassing than the defense, it has been all season. Even on Monday, Indianapolis’ offense had zero yards in the first quarter and was abysmal in the first half as a whole. With some costly turnovers sprinkled in, the offense certainly left a lot of meat on the bone. However, with the Colts still in the game, the defense’s inability to stop the run really hurt Indy on Monday night.

The Steelers finished the game with 36 rushing attempts for 172 yards and two rushing touchdowns. That’s the second-most rushing yards Indy allowed in a single game this season. Entering Monday night, the Colts were allowing just 113.5 rushing yards a game, good for 14th best in the NFL. So Indianapolis’ defense performed well below its average.

To make matters worse, Pittsburgh hasn’t really been good on the ground this season. The team entered the game averaging 107.8 yards a game on the ground. Additionally, the Steelers lost their starting running back, Najee Harris, in the first half of Monday’s game. However, Pittsburgh was able to get four different players over 30 yards rushing, and had their second-best rushing game as a team this season, playing behind the run to drive on Indy’s defense and put up 24 points.

This wasn’t only an unexpected outcome but a disappointing one. With guys like Grover Stewart, DeForest Buckner, Zaire Franklin, and Bobby Okereke all playing so well in the box for the Colts, it had become an expectation that the run defense would show up. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on Monday. Once it was clear that Indy couldn’t stop the run, it became clear that the Colts would have a hard time winning. The defense has carried the team so much this season but unfortunately, they’re the only hope Indy has to win games.