The Indianapolis Colts are riding high off of a two game win streak, bringing their season record to 5-5 as they head into the bye week. While their last two opponents were far from the league's best, it is nice to see the Colts back in the win column heading into the final stretch.
The biggest storyline of the past two weeks has been the quick turnaround of the Colts' defensive play. They were 32nd in points allowed and 30th in pass defense heading into the team's week nine match-up with the Carolina Panthers. In these past two games, the Colts have allowed just 9.5 points per game and just 184 yards passing against per game.
Again, these were two of the worst offenses in football going into those two Colts' games, but it is still promising to see the Colts bounce back strong from their defensive implosion against the New Orleans Saints. With the defense shining bright these past two weeks, the Colts' biggest star on the team has been at the forefront of the quick turnaround.
Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner simply dominated each of the last two games. Since week nine, Buckner leads all defensive players with a pass rush win rate of 27.6% (barely edging out edge rushers like Rashan Gary and Myles Garrett). His 11 total pressures rank ninth over that two week span, and his constant disruption has helped Dayo Odeyingbo lead the NFL in sacks over the last two weeks.
DeForest Buckner's complete dominance has sparked the Colts' defensive turnaround in recent weeks.
Patented Swim Move
One of the more unstoppable moves in the sport is DeForest Buckner's swim move. At 6'7" 300 pounds, it is unreal how quick he is able to transition his body through the move to leave opposing linemen grasping for air.
Former first round pick Cole Strange fell victim to this move on multiple occasions this past Sunday. Buckner continually beat this young lineman with the same move for multiple pressures, and Cole Strange simply had no answer for what he was facing.
This move has been in Buckner's toolbox since his early days in the league and offensive linemen are still helpless to stop it at the point of attack:
Mixing in the Rip Move
Like all legendary pitchers, a great fastball is only accentuated by an equally strong change-up. The same principle applies to pass rushers, as Buckner has his powerful rip move to pair with his unstoppable swim move.
Buckner uses his insane blend of power and length to leave offensive linemen on their heels with this rip move. This move is perfect for teams with a quick passing game, because he always seems to create disruption in a hurry with this interior move.
The two pressures he creates in the video below get home in mere seconds after the ball is snapped:
A common misconception about rushing the passer is that every single rush is the same. Some rush calls require pass rushers to stay true to their rush lane, while others are all about creating quick displacement and then staying home to keep opposing quarterbacks from scrambling out of the pocket.
On the few rushes where Buckner was not obliterating his man off the snap, he still found a way to create disruption in the backfield. In the two clips below, Buckner displaces his linemen into the backfield and forces the left guard into the face of the quarterback.
Then, once the quarterback begins to move in the pocket, Buckner quickly sheds his assignment and made a beeline for the passer. These two rushes are the perfect combination of complimentary rushing and simply dominating at the point of attack:
The Colts' run defense has been far from ideal the past two weeks. The team is still dealing with the loss of Grover Stewart, and it has been quite evident that the Colts don't have a suitable backup nose tackle on the roster to replace that impact.
The only major wins that the Colts have been able to get in run defense the past two weeks are when DeForest Buckner makes a highlight reel play in the backfield. These flashes have been paramount for the Colts, as they have knocked offenses off schedule and forced them to move away from running the ball.
Buckner has been far from perfect as a run defender since Grover Stewart's suspension, but these few massive run stops a game have been a major boost to the team's overall defense:
The Bottom Line
DeForest Buckner is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and he has put is elite ability on full display the past two weeks. He may have been feasting on two of the worst offensive lines in football, but that is what a superstar player is supposed to do.
Buckner has put this Colts' defense on his back the last two weeks, and the results have been astounding. The big test now is if he (and the entire Indy defense) can keep this up against better offenses following the bye week.
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