For pretty much the entire season, the pass rush has been one of the biggest issues for the Indianapolis Colts. Or, perhaps I should say, the lack of a pass rush, because the Colts have really struggled to rush the passer this year.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, had allowed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be pressured on 40.3% of his throws this year entering the game, according to Pro Football Focus. One thing was going to have to give, and that would likely go a long way toward determining the winner of Sunday's matchup.
In emphatic fashion, the Colts stepped up by recording six sacks, their most in a game all season. T.Y. McGill recorded the first two sacks of his career, Kendall Langford notched two sacks to set a career high with six sacks on the season, and Robert Mathis notched two sacks to extend his team lead to seven on the year.
The pass rush was timely, too. There was T.Y. McGill coming unblocked around the edge to get Tannehill for a safety early in the game, giving the Colts a 2-0 lead. And then there was Robert Mathis recording the sack on the biggest play of the game, with the Dolphins facing a fourth and goal down six with under a minute left to go. Fittingly, on that play, McGill, Langford, and Mathis all got pressure as the Dolphins blew the play.
The Colts' defense has now recorded 31 sacks this year, led by Robert Mathis with seven. Kendall Langford is second on the team with six sacks, and then D'Qwell Jackson, Erik Walden, and Trent Cole all have three. T.Y. McGill is the only other Colts player with multiple sacks (he has two), while Jerrell Freeman, Dwight Lowery, Mike Adams, Henry Anderson, David Parry, Jonathan Newsome, and Nate Irving all have one each. The pass rush is still a huge issue for the team, but the unit showed up in a big way on Sunday. The pressure they put on Ryan Tannehill played a big part in helping the Colts secure a crucial 18-12 victory, including the game-winning play in which they sacked Tannehill on fourth down. It was fitting that the game ended on a Colts' sack, as their pass rush showed up better than they have all season on Sunday.