The Indianapolis Colts have been really bad against the pass this season. The majority of the blame has fallen on corners for underperforming and Chris Ballard for putting together a thin, inexperienced cornerback room. While both things are true, there’s another factor in the equation: pass rush. Indy’s pass rush has not been a factor as of late.
The Colts knew they were taking a gamble with their cornerback room, but they were hoping that a deep defensive line group would help to overcome secondary struggles. A secondary and pass rush works in tandem; often times, teams can mask an inferior secondary with an elite pass rush. If the defensive line is getting after the quarterback, the offense won’t have the time to exploit any downfield weaknesses.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case in Indianapolis. Indy’s defensive line hasn’t been productive and have essentially left the struggling corners out to dry.
Colts need more from the defensive line to help secondary
On the season, Indy’s most productive pass rusher has been DeForest Buckner with just four sacks in eight games. Samson Ebukam is also tied for the lead with four, and Kwity Paye trails them with three. However, Ebukam and Paye haven’t really made the jump to consistent pass rushers that Indy was hoping for; they aren’t making things difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
In total, the Colts have 21 team sacks this season— 13th-most in the NFL. During this current three-game losing streak, where Indy is giving up almost 40 points a game, the Colts only have six total sacks. They had three against the Jacksonville Jaguars, two against the Cleveland Browns, and one against the New Orleans Saints.
Simply put, the defensive line has to find a way to step up and impact the game. Despite all of Indy’s defensive talent, the unit is currently struggling against the run and the pass. The issues in the secondary won’t be fixed anytime soon. The Colts’ best bet to turning things around is the defensive line becoming a factor in games.