It’s been a storied career for Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis. The 11-year NFL veteran has played his entire career in Indianapolis as he became one of the best defensive players in the league. For the first nine years as a Colt, Mathis thrived at defensive end. He and Dwight Freeney became the most feared duo in the league. Freeney set franchise records in Indy, but Mathis wasn’t far behind.
Last year, the Colts changed from a base 4-3 defense to a hybrid 3-4. That meant Freeney and Mathis were too small to play their normal positions and were moved to outside linebackers. Mathis thrived but Freeney didn’t. Indianapolis moved on from Freeney in the offseason, while Mathis came back this year to have a chance to leave his mark on this team.
He did just that. With a strip sack of Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum in the third quarter, Mathis became the Colts’ all-time leader in career sacks (108). He also set the franchise record for most sacks in a season by earning his 16.5 sacks thus far this year.
Mathis was given a standing ovation by the sellout crowd in Lucas Oil Stadium as it hit everyone that this is the most dominant defender to ever wear Colts blue.
With two games left in the season, Mathis is going to have a chance to become the NFL’s leader in sacks for a single season. He also has a chance over the next few years to really distance himself from everyone else to set a number that likely will never be reached again.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru