In a recent press conference, the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive captain, DeForest Buckner, didn’t mince words when addressing the team’s defensive woes. Despite a productive offense, the Colts have found themselves on the wrong side of three consecutive losses, and Buckner firmly believes that it’s the defense’s responsibility to turn things around.
In a candid conversation with the media, Buckner pinpointed communication breakdowns and a lack of attention to detail as the primary culprits behind the team’s recent defensive struggles. He emphasized the importance of finishing strong and making crucial plays, especially when the game is on the line.
“These past couple of games, it’s really been on us – the offense has scored enough points. It’s our job to keep the opponent out of the end zone, and we haven’t been doing our job lately,” Buckner declared.
The numbers don’t lie. The Colts defense has allowed a staggering 37 or more points in their last three losses. In all five of their defeats this season, opponents have scored at least 29 points. However, in their three victories in 2023, the Colts have managed to hold their opponents to an average of 18.3 points.
What’s even more telling is the correlation between defensive performance and team success. When the Colts allow 20 points or fewer, they are a perfect 3-0. Conversely, when they concede more than 20 points, their record plummets to 0-5.
While Buckner’s assertion that the defense needs to step up may seem harsh, it’s essential to consider the context. In the first two losses of their recent skid, the Colts limited the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars to under 320 yards of offense. However, offensive turnovers in those games led to short fields for their opponents and put the defense in challenging positions. In one instance, the Browns’ defense scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery.
In contrast, the Colts’ offense improved its ball security in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints, resulting in a turnover battle that ended in a draw. Despite this, the Saints scored 38 points, accumulating a whopping 511 yards of offense. New Orleans averaged 7.7 yards per play, showcasing the defensive struggles that Buckner is addressing.
Buckner’s willingness to take responsibility and hold his defensive teammates accountable shows strong leadership. As the Colts prepare to face the Carolina Panthers, the defense knows they must step up and complement the high-scoring offense to get back on the winning track.
In a league where defense wins championships, Buckner’s call to action couldn’t be more timely. Colts fans can only hope that his words resonate with the team and that the defense can rise to the occasion, supporting the efforts of their potent offense.