Indianapolis secured its second preseason win Saturday night over the Minnesota Vikings. While the offense struggled heavily with moving the ball for most of the game, it was the team’s defense which stepped up in a major way.
The Colts, like many other NFL teams, gave a majority of their starters some solid playing time during Saturday’s game and the defense came to play.
More specifically, the Colts’ pressure from the edge was the story of the game. Rookie first-round pick Kwity Paye had a strong debut, stuffing a Vikings’ run play for a loss and beating left tackle Rashod Hill for his first career sack.
Paye wasn’t the only defensive end who had a strong night, though, as Ben Banogu, whom the team has high expectations for this season, was constantly in the face of the opposing quarterback. Banogu showed a type of burst and quickness which the Colts haven’t really seen much of in his first two seasons.
And while Banogu wasn’t able to finish those pressures off with sacks, collapsing the pocket forced a lot of errant throws and decisions from the Vikings’ quarterbacks. Expectations are certainly high for not just Banogu but the entire group of defensive ends.
Flashes won’t be enough to help lift this defense into the ‘elite’ category, though. The Colts, as they should, are going to expect Paye and Lewis to be consistent forces at edge with Turay and Banogu coming in as needed.
As an overall defensive unit, Indy should feel pretty strong about where they stand amongst the rest of the league. Their pass rush was disruptive all game long and the secondary played fairly well, too.
Although it’s a very short sample size, the Colts had to like what they saw from their defense in all phases Saturday night. With questions that still needing to be answered surrounding the quarterback position, like who’s going to start come Week 1, the defense is going to have to continue stringing together these types of performances.