In the first half on Sunday, the Colts allowed 9.9 yards per play, including 11 first downs, an 80-percent success rate on third down, three explosive run plays (10-plus yards) and four explosive pass plays (15-plus yards). Wilson was 2-for-2 on attempts of 20-of-more yards, and while he was pressured 10 times, he was hit and sacked just once in the first two quarters.
The numbers bear out the Colts’ defense’s second-half improvement on Sunday. In the third and fourth quarters, the Seahawks averaged just 4.6 yards per play, had seven first downs, did not convert a single third down, had zero explosive run plays and two explosive passing plays. Wilson was 1-of-3 on pass attempts of 20 or more yards, and was pressured six times, two of which resulting in sacks.
But while those stats might seem promising at first glance, only one number matters to Leonard and his defensive teammates — did you go 1-0 on the day? The Colts were unable to achieve that goal on Sunday.
“We got our a** kicked,” Leonard said, matter-of-factly. “Especially in the first half, we didn’t do enough, and then in the second half we made some adjustments. We kind of got it going, but we didn’t have enough takeaways. If you want to win football games, you have to take the ball away, and we only had one. We have to make sure that we get more takeaways. They had two turnovers. If you count the fourth downs, there are takeaways there, so we have to be better there.”
The road for the Indy defense doesn’t get any easier from here. On Sunday the Colts play host to the Los Angeles Rams, who dropped 34 points on the Chicago Bears Sunday in their 2021 season-opening home victory. New L.A. quarterback Matthew Stafford carved up the Chicago defense to the tune of 20-of-26 passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns to no picks for a 156.1 QB rating.
For the Colts, starting and ending fast on defense will be of paramount importance in this one.
“I mean, that was our whole 2020 season — it was a tale of two halves pretty much each game, but it’s not going to always be how we want it. They’re not going to give it to us. We have to go take it,” said cornerback Kenny Moore II, who finished Sunday’s game with three tackles (one for a loss) and a sack. “We just have to stay on our key adjustments that we made. That was great for us going forward, so we just have to take advantage of that.”