This stat explains why the Colts allowed the second-most sacks this season
The Indianapolis Colts are coming off a season where they allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL. Here’s one of the reasons why.
The 2022 season was a horrible year for the Indianapolis Colts. After starting the year with expectations so high, Indy finished the season 4-12-1, went through multiple starting quarterbacks, and had two head coaches. At the center of all of Indy’s issues was the offensive line. Everyone knew pass protection was a question mark entering the season but no one could have imagined that the line would be as bad as it was.
A good run-blocking offensive line in 2021, the Colts couldn’t even do that this past season and that was incredibly hard for the offense to overcome. But when it came to pass protection, things got really bad. Indianapolis allowed 60 sacks this past season, the second-most in the NFL, trailing only the Denver Broncos who allowed 63. Whenever a team allows that many sacks, it’s going to be really hard to win games.
The main reason the offensive line struggled so much is that players just simply weren’t producing. High-paid players that have performed well in the past like Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith all regressed significantly. Additionally, first-time starters like Matt Pryor and Bernhard Raimann had a ton of growing pains. While a lot of the fault falls on the players, there’s a great deal of blame to be dished out on the coaching staff as well.
Data from PFF shows that the Colts left their offensive tackles on an island at the fourth-highest rate in the league this past season. That means the tackles were often left to block their defenders one-on-one with no help. While it would be ideal if Indy could do this successfully, the tackles repeatedly displayed that they needed help. Allowing them to continue to be on an island makes many of the sacks a coaching problem as much as it was a players’ problem.
Colts consistently left tackles on an island
Every team would love to leave each of their linemen on an island; it just makes things easier offensively. However, your tackles have to be really good for it to work effectively. That’s why the Philadelphia Eagles did it so much and why they are in the Super Bowl. They have a great offensive line. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the Colts, so leaving them on an island shouldn’t have been the case either.
Whoever was designing and calling plays this past season for Indianapolis should have been giving some help to the offensive tackles. With all of the tight ends Indy has on the roster, they should have been more incorporated in pass protection. Surely players need to be better but coaches are supposed to help their guys out and scheme to cover up weaknesses. It was evident that the offensive tackles were struggling to block one-on-one, so every time that the Colts left them on an island, they were almost asking for a sack.