Colts: Four Keys to Victory Against The Saints


Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore (23) runs with the ball against the New England Patriots in the first half during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts are looking to bounce back after a week 6 loss against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is tired of the fake punt talk and so are a majority of the Colts fans. The only good thing that came out of that play was the impressive Tecmo SuperBowl video that was made, which I added is at the bottom of this page.

The good news is that this is Week 7, a new opponent is in town and the focus can finally be shifted away from the Patriots game (except for the video at the bottom of the page… sorry). Today, the Colts take on the New Orleans Saints led by former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees.

-= Related: Colts Week 7 DraftKings Player Values =-

New Orleans is beginning their rebuilding phase, but they are still a very dangerous team to play. Brees is 2-2 against the Colts for his career in the regular season and 1-0 in the playoffs, but we are not going to go there. The last time these two teams played almost four years to the day, October 23, 2011.  If you remember that was the year that the Colts went with the Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter/Dan Orlovsky experiment. So let’s recap how that went… The Colts lost in New Orleans 62-7. 

More from Andrew Luck

This is the first meeting between the Colts (3-3) and Saints (2-4) since Andrew Luck entered the league in 2012. Drew Brees is still a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, but their offensive attack is not what it was in either of their last two meetings. Expect a hearty helping of Mark Ingram‘s power running attack and lots of dink-and-dunk passes by Brees. So just how do the Colts stop the Saints offense?

Increase the Pressure and Generate Sacks

The Colts have to start getting to the quarterback. In six games, the Colts have tallied eight sacks from eight different players an average of 1.3 sacks per game. This is a far cry from the 40 sacks (2.5 sacks per game) the team had in 2014 without Robert Mathis. Look for the Colts to unleash a 100% healthy Mathis today against a suspect Saints offensive line that is missing rookie starter Andrus Peat at tackle. All but one of the Colts’ sacks have come from the front seven.

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky must devise a scheme that gets sacks without exposing the secondary. The Colts will be playing Without free safety Mike Adams playing center field in the secondary, the pressure cannot come from overloading blitzes unless they cornerbacks are winning their individual matchups. As of late, the corners have been inconsistent on their man coverage. So the safe bet is the pressure will get generated from the interior of the defensive front.

Limit the impact of the Saints rushing attack on the game

The Colts rushing defense is allowing an average of 112 yards per game. The Saints only average 85 rushing yards per game. The combination of Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson, and C.J Spiller has rushed for a total of 496 yards and six touchdowns. Ingram has been the most effective rusher for New Orleans despite a 51.2 yards per game average and a 3.5-yards per attempt average. Ingram has four rushing touchdowns on the season and can be a definitive threat at the goal line. Robinson and Spiller are the change of pace backs out of the backfield and have a larger impact in catches out of the backfield than they do when running between the tackles. If the Colts can limit the rushing attack to below their average it will force Brees to win the game with his arm and allow the Colts defense to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback.

Forget Frank Gore’s Pitch Count

Offensively speaking, the Colts have improved significantly since their initial 0-2 start. Much of that success has come from a change in philosophy from seven-step dropbacks to three and five-step drops. The other and probably larger impact of this change has been the production of Frank Gore. His impact is evident in last week’s game. When Indianapolis shied away from their rushing game in the second half the offense became stagnant and allowed the momentum to swing in New England’s favor.

The Colts cannot have a repeat performance against the Saints. Frank Gore needs to carry the ball 25-30 times in this game. He is currently averaging 4.5 yards per attempt. That number would likely be significantly higher if not for all of the holding penalties that have negated several big gains. If there is one game where Gore can finally surpass the century mark and break the Colts 46-game deficit without a 100-yard rusher, it’s this one. The Saints are allowing their opponents to rush for 138 yards per game. Expect a big game from Frank Gore today.

Keep a Clean pocket to Protect Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck had his best game of the season against the Patriots last week. The Saints defense is not nearly as good as the Patriots defense. The Saints are allowing an average of 271 yards through the air this season. The Saints do have some pass rushing threats in rookie OLB Hau’oli Kikaha and DE Cameron Jordan who have combined for eight sacks (the same as the entire Colts defense). If the Colts offensive line can protect Luck and keep his pocket clean this game could be lopsided in the favor of Indianapolis.

The Colts need to score quickly and do so with a balanced attack. Pep Hamilton can no longer afford to abandon the running game if the Colts get behind. he has to trust in the defense and not go from a balanced attack to a pass-heavy offense unless New Orleans has shut down Gore (which is unlikely today). Luck’s arm is a great weapon for Indianapolis, but letting him throw 50 passes and rushing less than 20 times is a recipe for disaster. Luck needs to be protected from taking so many jarring hits. Protecting  Luck and opening up the holes for a non-pitch-count Gore is the recipe for success today in Indianapolis.

As promised one of the funniest and saddest plays in Colts history for one last hurrah… and in the hopes we never see this play again… S/O to for this.

Be be sure to check out all our Colts coverage here at Ink On Indy after the game!

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