I wrote earlier about the Indianapolis Colts defense bending, but not breaking. The defense just about broke the entire team Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. While the Colts did escape with a win and a pair of interceptions, they showed a lot of immaturity. The defensive backfield let up some major plays and the linebackers were totally unprepared to deal with Terrell Pryor’s running ability. It was an all around poor performance by the defense.
The defense’s trouble started up front. While the defensive line was able to get good penetration on runs and stopped the Raiders from picking up any big yardage when they pounded the rock, the Colts defensive line didn’t get enough pressure on Terrell Pryor. When they did get pressure, Pryor was usually able to escape. When Pryor escaped, he made an amazing throw on the run, deep down the field. If he didn’t do that, he would run for a big gain. If the Colts expect to beat a team with a mobile quarterback, they will have to get pressure at the point of attack.
If the Colts can get pressure from their defensive line on a mobile quarterback, the linebackers have to stop the quarterback from running. Terrell Pryor destroyed the Colts by doing this. The Colts backers all had their backs turned and Pryor simply used his speed and athleticism to move the offense down the field. But if the Colts did actually stay home and Pryor decided to throw, he threw for huge chunks of yardage. When Pryor started moving around, the receivers were able to get away from the coverage and Pryor consistently found them.
The Colts defense was lucky Pryor wasn’t very consistent. They really struggled as a unit and have to improve in all facets of the defensive game. If they make a run deep into the playoffs they are going to face the top option teams in the NFL and have to learn how to defend it because Terrell Pryor absolutely destroyed them with his mobility on Saturday.