Can the Colt defense
make plays before the 4th quarter
written by Stephen Conway
Last week for
three quarters, the New England Patriots seemed to move the ball at
will versus the Colt defenders. They played their ball control
clock-eating strategy to perfection. The Colts offered little
resistance until the Pats approached the red zone on three occasions.
They bent and nearly broke.
Manning and the vaunted Colt offense. It didn't matter that the team
only had the ball 12 plays in the first half. It didn't matter that
for the majority of the game, the Patriots looked to be the better
team. What mattered was the defense put the ball in Peyton's hands
when it counted most. Down 23-14, Manning led the team on two
touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to put the colts ahead for
good. Edgerrin James was key to the success of each drive, pounding
away at the Patriots defensive linemen and linebackers for huge gains
on the ground, including a 26 yard run to set up the winning
A win is a win is
a win. The Colts found ways to win despite poor performances on
defense most of the afternoon and that's what matters most. No one is
happier than this writer that the Colts were able to break the curse
of the dreaded Patriots. BUT. The glaring weaknesses that were so
evident last Sunday will not just go away. If anything, those
defensive liabilities may have become even larger due to several
serious injuries during the course of the game. Rookie linebacker and
first round draft pick Rob Morris damaged a patellar tendon in his
right leg and is out of the season. Defensive lineman Ellis Johnson
suffered a knee injury and is questionable for this week's game as is
Safety Jason Belser who suffered a concussion.
The Colts must
face a defensive minded Detroit Lions team this Sunday, coming off a
huge road win against division opponent Tampa Bay. The Detroit
secondary is relentless and very opportunistic, leading the NFC in
forced turnovers with 14 interceptions and 7 fumbles. The Colts'
tendency to turn the ball over at least once a game will be sorely
tested by this unit.
While the Detroit
defense will not give ground easily, I fully believe that the Colts
can score on any team if they are executing their plays to the best of
their abilities. The question becomes: will the Colts defense put the
team in a position to take control of the game with their offensive
firepower or force them to play from behind?
are not the answer. What is needed most by the defense is continuity,
players working in concert with one another. Football is the ultimate
team sport and what the Colts have seemed to lack the most on defense
is trust. They may not be the fastest unit or the most athletic, but
the Colts can mount a credible defense if they will play together.
Each man must focus on his assigned task and avoid the mental
breakdowns that have cost the team dearly in recent weeks. No more
bullet dodging. Let's tame these Lions before they learn to bite!
Breakdowns of the key matchups on offense,
defense, and special teams.
Much like Miami
in the AFC East, the Lions have snuck up to second place in their
division without much media attention. While the Lions offense has
struggled, Detroit running back James Stewart had a break out game last
week in Tampa. Given the penchant of the Colts to give ground on first
and second down through the run, expect Stewart to see a great deal of
Put simply, this
game hinges on two factors: making Detroit punt and not turning
the ball over. Last week, New England did not punt until the fourth
quarter. We cannot expect to win games if this holds true every week.
If we allow our offense equal time on the field and protect the ball,
there is every reason to believe the team will walk out Sunday 6-2. Expect
Edgerrin James to shoulder the Lion's share of the burden on Sunday.
An effective running game will set up the play action for us.
Provided our defense can keep the Lions from dominating time of
possession, I believe the Colts have too many weapons for the Lion
defense to account for all game long
Score: Colts 27
where: RCA Dome
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