Despite losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts’ defense put together one of their best performances of the season. They were able to hold the Jaguars to just 6 points on the afternoon and only gave up 211 total yards and 11 first downs. Players such as Kenny Moore II, Anthony Walker, and Margus Hunt all had stellar games but nobody stood out quite as much as Denico Autry.
Autry has been quite productive in his first season with the Colts, coming off of a solid season with the Raiders last year. Despite missing four games this year due to injury, Autry has tallied 29 tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, and 6 sacks on the season. These stats are boosted by a huge game on Sunday where he accumulated 7 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.
Autry has had a few stand out games and I’ve basically been begging my Twitter followers for weeks to choose him for one of my Film Rooms. Autry broke out on Sunday and it is finally time to jump into some of his film. Let’s see just how dominant Autry really was on Sunday.
For our first play, Autry does a good job of penetrating inside, forcing Carlos Hyde to bounce outside. He holds his lineman at the point of attack and linebacker Anthony Walker is able to come in for the tackle. Typically that is the end of the play but Autry does a good job of turning, locating Hyde, and knocking the ball loose for a fumble. Great hustle and a heads up play.
This next clip is the first of Autry’s three sacks on the day. This is a rough rep for Jaguars guard A.J Cann— which was a common theme all day— as Autry pushes him back into Cody Kessler’s face. Autry knocks Cann off-balance early in his set, setting up the bull rush. He then drives Cann puts him “on skates,” driving him into the pocket. Kessler tries to bail from the pocket but runs right into Autry. This is a solid rush with a little help from Kessler.
This is an outstanding rep on run defense for Autry. He starts the play with excellent quickness and is able to swim past right tackle Jermy Parnell. Autry engages both the fullback— Tommy Bohanon— and the pulling left guard—Patrick Omameh— in the hole. By taking on this double team in the hole, he frees up the linebackers to have a free shot on the runner. Great play.
Our next clip is a big third-and-one early in the game, and Autry hits T.J Yeldon in the backfield. Autry is bigger, faster, and stronger than Cann. He extends his arms and drives Cann towards the center. Autry gets his head up and spots the running back, easily discards Cann and wraps up Yeldon. This likely would have been a loss on the play if Clayton Geathers continued to drive his feet through the tackle. It was still a solid play by Autry.
In this clip, Autry is initially double teamed by center Tyler Shatley and left guard Omameh. Once Margus Hunt works around on the stunt, Autry is basically triple teamed. Realizing he has little chance to get through three linemen, Autry spies the QB and reacts to Kessler. Once Kessler bails from the pocket, Autry is in perfect position to pursue and make the tackle. He nearly ends up with another sack.
On the very next play, Autry shows excellent hustle to track down Kessler on the sideline. Autry has a pretty nice initial rush, using a long-arm move to drive Omameh into the pocket. Once he gets penetration, Kessler bails. Autry shows great hustle in pursuit. If he doesn’t, Kessler likely cuts up field for a gain on the play. Instead, Autry forces Kessler to throw the ball away.
Autry’s second sack results from another example of effort, combined with a good rush on the outside by Tyquan Lewis. At the snap, Autry finds himself triple-teamed. As the play progresses, he finds himself in a one-on-one situation with the center Shatley. Autry burst by him quickly as Kessler steps up to avoid the outside rish. Lewis deserves the assist here.
The next clip is on a run in an important situation. With the Colts trailing by three late in the game, the Jaguars offense faces a huge third and one. Both Hunt and Autry step up in a huge way.
Hunt bursts into the backfield and is the primary source of disruption but Autry does a great job of driving guard Chris Reed into the backfield. By driving the guard backward, Autry shuts down any cutback lane. Two gigantic bull rushes shut down this play from the snap.
Autry’s most impressive play of the day is also the one he wishes he had back. He is lightning quick off of the line, firing out of his stance. Cann is immediately on his heels, so Autry elects to go around him. Autry swats away Cann’s hands and blows past him for a free shot at the quarterback. Unfortunately, Autry misses and Kessler picks up a big first down and keeps the clock moving. Dishonorable mention to Geathers again as he misses a quarterback in the open field.
Our last clip almost turned the tide of the game. Autry tried to swat Cann’s hands away but Cann manages to engage and stalls his initial rush. Autry counters and tosses Cann aside just as Kessler is stepping up in the pocket. Autry hits Kessler and separates him from the ball. If Autry could have held Kessler’s arm or pushed the ball away, Darius Leonard would have had an easy scoop and score.
Game of inches I suppose. Regardless, it is a great play by Autry and a sweet end to a career day.
Denico Autry has been very productive in his first year with the Colts. He and Margus Hunt— when healthy— have formed a pretty passable duo inside for Matt Eberflus. Autry is a solid run defender who gets after it as a pass rusher. He is a good enough to fully take advantage of a poor offensive lineman like A.J Cann.
This game was a great example of Autry’s peak on the field. He was hustling all over the place on Sunday and even flashed some really impressive rushes. In run defense, he did a great job of playing his assignment and opening up free shots for the linebackers. His big plays almost led to a victory.
To this point, Autry appears to be a solid Ballard signing. While the Colts need to add talent and youth to the defensive line, Autry looks to be a key piece of the rotation going forward. With more performances like this, he could be more than just a rotational piece. Hopefully he can keep up his strong play as the red hot Texans are up next on the schedule.