Entering the 2023 season, there was a belief that the defensive front for the Indianapolis Colts could be special. With dominant defensive linemen like DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart, as well as an elite group of linebackers, there weren’t many questions about Indy’s front. The concern was always about the secondary, and the secondary has struggled to start the season, but it seems like the young defensive backs are figuring it out.
Even with a slow-starting secondary, the Colts defense is still playing solid, and the defensive front is to thank for that. Buckner and Stewart have been their dominant selves, and the two young edge defenders, Kwity Paye and Samson Ebukam, both look like they’re on their way to breakout seasons.
Then, there are the linebackers, one of the best units in all of football. Led by Zaire Franklin, who’s leading the league in tackles right now, the trio of Franklin, Shaquille Leonard, and EJ Speed have made play after play throughout the first three games. A quality defensive line and an elite group linebackers leads to a defense that is dominant in multiple categories.
Colts have been one of NFL’s best defensive groups in multiple categories
When judging a defense, the first two stats everyone looks at are points allowed and yards allowed. With only three games played, the Colts are allowing 365 yards a game— 25th in the NFL. That isn’t good. However, it has a lot to do with the team’s underwhelming pass defense, which is allowing 250.7 passing yards a game, 22nd-most in the league. Against the run, Indy allows 114.3 yards a game, which is 16th in the league.
As far as points allowed, Indianapolis is currently 19th in the NFL, giving up 23.3 points a game. So clearly, Indy isn’t dominating either of those categories. But, those aren’t the only defensive metrics. Here’s where Indy is dominant defensively.
The Colts currently have 23 tackles for a loss. That’s the most in the NFL so far this season. Indianapolis also has 12 sacks, tied for second in the league. Indy’s also tied for second with seven forced fumbles. It’s clear that the defensive front is making it’s fair share of plays. The next step is for the secondary to catch up. Once that happens, the defense is going to be dangerous.