It was evident to anyone watching the Colts vs. Broncos game Sunday night that the Colts' secondary was phenomenal. Vontae Davis and Darius Butler in particular were very good, but Davis took it to a different level.
"After the game Vontae Davis was interviewed about his performance and slipped up by accidentally claiming they had been preparing hard for Tom Brady all week. Despite that, he put in a career performance, setting a new PFF CB record with a +7.9 grade. He did this without an interception and without forcing any turnovers, but simply by picking up positive play after positive play without being beaten. He notched a pair of PDs and despite being targeted eight times allowed just three receptions for a total of 12 yards. He was helped by Manning's mystery arm weakness that caused a bunch of passes to float underthrown and allowed Davis to simply wall off his man from the pass, but it would be too harsh to take anything away from what was an excellent performance by any standards."
The +7.9 grade is the highest grade that PFF has ever given to a cornerback for a whole game. That's incredibly impressive. He is having a great season, and Kyle Rodriguez sheds some more light on that:
Vontae Davis is allowing just 0.75 yards per snap in coverage, 8th in the NFL.— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) October 23, 2013
Last year in training camp, Ryan Grigson traded for Vontae Davis and immediately fans began wanting him to be the shut down corner people said he could be. But early on last year, he struggled mightily. He really picked it up at the end of the year, but this year he has been phenomenal. The Colts play man coverage and Davis has done great. He has emerged into a shut-down type corner and is playing like one of the league's best this year. It took until a game where he played Peyton Manning for people to begin to notice, and that's unfortunate and a mistake, but he has had a tremendous year.
It is another move by Ryan Grigson that looks great now, and Davis looks great too. Really, he is a representation of the entire secondary. As a unit, it is much improved and doing really well this season. Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, Antoine Bethea, LaRon Landry, and Delano Howell have all seen significant time and have all impressed at times and to varying degrees, but they have all impressed nonetheless.
I have said for a while now that judging the success of Chuck Pagano by the run game is wrong, no matter what he says the emphasis is. Sure, he might place the emphasis on the run game, but perhaps the reason for that is because he thinks it is behind the pass defense so he wants to focus on that. Chuck Pagano has been a secondary coach in various places for quite a while now, including most recently in Baltimore with the Ravens. He is a tremendous secondary coach. It should be no surprise that in Pagano's defense in Indianapolis, the secondary is the first to show major signs of being a potential "monster." It's because that is what Pagano is best at. The rest will come, but for now, look at the context and see that this defense is right on schedule and the secondary is playing phenomenal this season. It begins with Vontae Davis, who is undoubtedly having a Pro Bowl year as the Colts' number one corner - a guy who is truly becoming a lock-down corner. On Sunday against the Broncos, he absolutely was.