Although the Indianapolis Colts committed four turnovers in their 42-35 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon, they remained competitive for the majority of three-plus quarters. But despite Andrew Luck overcoming two tipped interceptions and throwing for four touchdowns, the Colts secondary was consistently beaten by Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
The rookie quarterback out of USC completed 24 of his 30 passes for 280 yards and two scores, repeatedly carving up the Indy secondary and finding holes in coverage. Darnold came into the contest having completed just 55 percent of his passes, but as has been the case all season, the Colts made him look like an established field general as he marched the Jets up and down the field.
The Colts’ defense remains a work in progress, but they are suffering the same lapses nearly every week. All too often, broken coverage has sprung opposing receivers for big gains and touchdowns, and the lack of size in the secondary has been punished by the likes of more physical receivers such as New England’s Josh Gordon.
The Colts are allowing an average of 30.0 points per game, as well as 280 yards through the air for opposing quarterbacks (the sixth-worst tally in the league this season). Matters are made worse by the number of injuries accrued by the defensive unit, as injuries to Clayton Geathers and Matthias Farley have hampered the Colts’ ability to send different defensive looks.
The Colts have actually been vastly improved against the run this year, but even a healthy Malik Hooker has not had the same desired impact in the secondary. Unfortunately, given the number of injuries and the sheer lack of experience at the defensive skill positions, this unit is likely to experience the lion’s share of struggles as the Colts continue their march to deep water. Luckily, the defense should see a confidence booster next week, as they return to Lucas Oil Stadium to host a Bills team that is averaging a league-worst 12.7 points per game.
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