Colts let down by defense in Week 8 loss, unable to overcome missing players

The Indianapolis Colts lost a third straight game and the defense is to blame, as they were unable to overcome missing players and stop the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Entering Week 8, the Indianapolis Colts were the only team to score 20 or more points in every game this season. Indy continued that trend, scoring 27 points against a talented New Orleans Saints defense. Unfortunately, the Colts lost the game because they gave up 38 points.

Offensively, Jonathan Taylor carried the ball 12 times for 95 yards and Zack Moss added 66 rushing yards on 11 carries. Gardner Minshew completed 23-of-41 passes for 213 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, and Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, and Michael Pittman Jr. all had over 40 yards receiving. It was the defense that didn’t show up.

Colts defense struggles against Saints

Indianapolis gave up 511 total yards. The defense surrendered 350 yards through the air and was bullied for 161 yards on the ground, allowing 4.5 yards a carry. Indy really had trouble containing versatile weapon Taysom Hill. Hill completed one pass for 44 yards and carried the ball nine times for 63 yards and two touchdowns.

While a ton of Colts defenders who were on the field struggled, this game also said a lot of about the starting defenders that weren’t on the field for Indianapolis. Indy was without defensive tackle Grover Stewart and cornerback JuJu Brents, and both players were sorely missed.

Colts are missing Grover Stewart and JuJu Brents

Stewart has been suspended six games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and Sunday was his second game out. One of Stewart’s backups, Eric Johnson II, was also out. That lack of depth on the interior defensive line showed as the Saints ran the ball right up the middle against the Colts.

While the defensive front struggled, no Colt had a worst day than cornerback Tony Brown. Brown is usually an impact player on special teams for Indianapolis, but with rookie corner JuJu Brents sidelined with an injury, and Darrell Baker Jr. struggling, Brown got the start at corner. Unfortunately, he had a long day. He missed multiple tackles, gave up a long touchdown, and also gave up a deep completion that secured a win for the Saints.

With Stewart suspended for four more games, and the timeline of Brents’ injury unknown, the Colts will have to figure something out. Either the players that struggled on Sunday must figure out how to bounce back, or Indy needs to be active at the trade deadline to address these positions. Sitting at 3-5, the season can quickly slip away if things aren’t addressed.