Grover Stewart is finally free. After serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, Stewart can now return to practice and games for the Indianapolis Colts. While it’s always good to welcome a player of Stewart’s caliber back into the lineup, the Colts desperately need Stewart back on the field.
Playing defensive tackle, Stewart is one of the best run stuffers in the NFL. Playing in six games this season, Grover Stewart has 20 tackles, two for a loss, and five quarterback hits. This comes after a 2022 season where Stewart recorded 70 tackles, nine for a loss, seven quarterback hits, and four sacks— all career highs. However, the numbers that really show how good Stewart is are Indy’s stats against the run during the games he missed.
Colts have been bad against the run without Grover Stewart
In Stewart’s absence, Indianapolis has been abysmal against the run. Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, the final game of Stewart’s suspension, Indy gave up 177 rushing yards. On the season, the Colts are allowing 133.3 rushing yards a game, 26th in the NFL. Those numbers significantly plummeted once Stewart was suspended.
Prior to Stewart’s suspension, Indy gave up just 113.5 rushing yards a game. Without Stewart, the Colts are allowing 20 more rushing yards per game. In the first six games of the season, all with Stewart, Indy allowed opposing teams to rush for more than 100 yards just three times. In the last six games, all without Stewart, opposing teams have run for more than 125 yards in every single game.
There’s no question that Stewart is a difference maker for the Colts and that’s exactly what they need him to be down the stretch of the season. Indianapolis is currently on a four-game win streak, but it never hurts to improve. If the Colts can be better against the run, they’ll improve their chances of making the postseason. It’s likely that Grover Stewart will make that happen.