What better way to follow up a post dismissing the importance of stats than to write something using stats as proof the Indianapolis Colts have the best defense in pro football in 2007. Yep, that's me: Mr. Speaks Out of Both Sides of His Ass.
Seriously, I don't need to point out Indy's #1 scoring defense, or the #2 passing defense, #3 in opponent QB rating, or the #3 ranking in yards allowed. The stats are nice and great, but last year stats showed that Baltimore had a great run defense. In the fourth quarter of the AFC Division Round, the Colts ran the football at will against that defense, and won the game. Stats are not the be all and end all. They help tell the story, but not the complete story.
All one had to do this year was watch the Colts defense to see they were the best. If Freeney had not gone down with a foot injury after the SD game, this defense would be unquestioned as #1. Still, despite Freeney's injury, the Colts have continued to pressure QBs especially when Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock have played. I also cannot praise enough the play of the secondary. Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden might be the best corner duo this team has ever had. Bob is Bob, and Antoine Bethea continues to play lights out in coverage. He can also hit really hard, too. Throw in solid reserves like Matt Giordano, Tim Jennings, and the very surprising TJ Rushing and this secondary is as talented and deep as any in football.
And as great as Bob has played this season, equally great has been the play of the defense's captain: Mr. Gary Brackett. Gary was shaky during the regular season last year. This year, he's picked up where he left off in the playoffs. Gary has elevated his play to another level. He was totally snubbed for the Pro Bowl in favor of Ray "Old and Done" Lewis. Gary's pass coverage improved dramatically with 7 passes defended and 4 INTs. Those 4 INTs for a LBer are a pretty impressive stat, but more impressive is how he leads this defense. Teammates respond to him and feed off his energy.
I am incredibly excited about this defense. More so than any other year, the defense and offense are about on par with each other. Now, if we get the special teams playing well...