In the seven weeks prior to the the Indianapolis Colts entering their bye week, their pass defense was one of the best in football.
Since the bye, it's been a disaster.
The Colts have allowed 790 total passing yards and 6 total touchdowns to quarterbacks named Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, and Kellen Clemens. They also don't have an interception since Darius Butler picked off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter of Indy's eventual Week 5 win. The last pick the defense overall had was linebacker Pat Angerer's INT of Peyton Manning in Week 7.
Part of the reason the poor play of the secondary is injuries, but, for my mind, that's a cheap cop out. The only significant injury has been to starting corner Greg Toler, who has a groin pull. The rest of the starters have played, including big money free agent signing LaRon Landry. The results have been bad.
I'm not dismissing Toler's contributions to the team, but let's be realistic. He's a good corner, not a great one. His injury is not the reason the Colts are getting lit up by scrubs. Landry and follow starting safety Antoine Bethea have been especially terrible, grading poorly in all three post-bye week games by Pro Football Focus.
For Sunday against the Cardinals, Toler will, once again, sit out. This means Cassius Vaughn will fill his outside corner spot while Darius Butler remains the slot corner.
The backbone of this defense in 2013 was their secondary play going into the bye. Now, their coverage is about as bad as their run defense has been all season.
For the Colts to eek out a win on the road in Arizona, their secondary simply must play better. They are facing Bruce Arians, a coach who (as the Colts know) has a knack for creative schemes that attack secondaries.