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When we learned that Colts quarterback Peyton Manning would miss significant time this season with neck problems, we all knew Indy would struggle.
But nobody expected them to be this bad.
The Colts have been downright offensive on offense. And it’s a little bit surprising, especially for an offense that featuring two All Pros – wide receiver Reggie Wayne and banged up tight end Dallas Clark – as well as play making wide outs Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. You’d expect a fair drop-off in production replacing Manning with the likes of Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky. Yet those two mounds of ineptitude can’t get anything done – even with a solid arsenal of weapons – “powering” the Colts’ 31st ranked offense straight into the toilet.
Manning’s presence seems to be equally missed on the defensive side of the ball. Indy’s defense is built to perfectly compliment Manning and a nearly unstoppable offense. With a big enough lead the Colts can focus exclusively on stopping the pass, allowing their best game changers – defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis – to rush straight up field and get to opposing quarterbacks. That usually results in sacks, forced fumbles, or interceptions.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, the Colts can barely get any points, let alone leads. And without pressuring the opposition to play from behind, Indy’s defense can be exposed as a bad unit. Freeney and Mathis are fantastic pass-rushers, but they’re one-trick-ponies. They don’t play well if they have to account for the run AND the pass. As direct result of their pathetic offense, both defensive ends are on pace for their lowest sack totals in several seasons (Freeney has 7.5, Mathis 6.5), while a banged up Colt defense is among the league’s worst. That bodes well for T.J. Yates and the struggling Texan offense Thursday night.