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INDIANAPOLIS – For the vast majority of the 2018 season, the defensive play of the Indianapolis Colts has not been the major reason why this team currently has a record of 1-5.
Still, that side of the ball has started to dip in recent weeks.
Injuries and being thrown into some less than favorable situations certainly have not helped the defense getting off the field without allowing any points.
But it’s still a unit that has struggled to defend full fields.
Lately, it’s been way too easy for opposing quarterbacks to shred the Colts.
In the last three games, all losses for the Colts, Deshaun Watson, Tom Brady and Sam Darnold have combined to go 87-of-116 (75 percent) in averaging 332 passing yards per game against the Indy defense.
Each of those 3 QBs had a quarterback rating of over 100 in those games.
The breakdowns for the Colts leading to the huge days for those quarterbacks?
Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus pins that more on mis-execution than anything.
“We don’t have a lot of issues with communication, because we don’t do a lot,” Eberflus says, reminding those of his defensive philosophy. “We play our defenses that we’ve been running since Training Camp. If we have one of those (communication breakdowns), it’s very few and far between. It comes down to execution, technique and good fundamentals.”
On the season, the Colts rank 31st in the NFL in completion percentage allowed (73.1 percent).
While the pass rush hasn’t brought enough pressure in recent weeks, the zone looks from the Colts on the back end have clearly not done the job either. No team in the NFL blitzes less than the Colts. But don’t expect that to all of a sudden change, given their core defensive principles.
“Just a couple of more plays and overall consistency,” Reich said of cleaning up the pass defense issues. “It doesn’t take much.”
Could the right ‘challenge’ be coming the Colts’ way on Sunday?
It looks that way with the Bills going with newly signed Derek Anderson starting at quarterback against the Colts.
Anderson, 35, has been with the Bills for barely more than a week.
Since 2000, only one NFL quarterback has had a worse completion percentage than Anderson’s 54.1 mark.
If the Colts can’t neutralize Anderson and the Bills’ league worst passing offense, then these issues might run deeper than just a lack of execution.