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Colts secondary anxious to play against the league’s best passing attack

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Intro: Through the first six games of the NFL season, the Colts secondary has established itself among the top in the NFL. The group will be put to the test on Sunday night with the NFL’s best passing attack invading Lucas Oil Stadium.



INDIANAPOLIS—The Colts secondary has talked since the offseason about being one of the league’s best.

On Sunday night, the unit will get to evaluate themselves against the game’s elite in Peyton Manning and the top passing attack in the NFL.

Antoine Bethea went up against Manning in practice for five seasons and has kept it simple for his fellow defensive backs this week.

“Read your keys, play your style of ball and that’s it,” Bethea said of his insight to the secondary.

“It’s going to be a chess match. (Manning) looks for his mismatches just like any other quarterback does. He might get us a few times, we might get him a few times, but for the most part, like I continue to say, we got to go out there and play ball. When we get chances to make plays, we got to make our plays.”

 

Cornerback Greg Toler points to one specific battle in which the Colts secondary must win on Sunday night if it wants to have success against Manning.

This season, Manning has completed at least 30 passes to four different receivers so disrupting the timing between those targets will be vital.

“Peyton’s a timing quarterback. He can dissect a defense if you show your hand too early so just trying not to show your hand to early with Peyton, move around, disguise certain things,” Toler said of the keys.

Another stat that has Toler’s attention is how effective Denver has been in the red zone.

The Broncos offense has scored touchdowns on 23-of-28 red zone drives this season and the 82.1 percent conversion rate is tops in the NFL by nearly 11 percent.

“Hats off to Peyton, he has a nose for the end zone and he has a way of making guys around him better,” Toler said. ‘Us as a defense, we try to get the ball back as much as possible for our offense and just winning the field position is the biggest part.”

On Wednesday’s conference call with the Indianapolis media, Manning mentioned the cover ability of Toler, Vontae Davis and Darius Butler that has the Colts defense fifth in the NFL in passing yards given up per game.

The task this week is the league’s top offensive attack with Manning leading virtually every major passing category led by a 22:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

“It’s going to come down to field position, tackling, the little things,” Davis says. “There’s a small margin of error with two good teams playing each other.

“This game is going to come down to the best man wins.”

Sunday’s matchup won’t be the first time that Chuck Pagano has game planned for Manning.

In various stops throughout the NFL, Pagano has prepared a defense to oppose Manning and the test has only increased over time.

“There’s nothing that he hasn’t seen and there’s nothing that he can’t recall. He’s got a volume and can handle a volume of information,” Pagano says of Manning.

“He’s unbelievable at the line of scrimmage of previewing the defense, if you will, so it’s going to be difficult. But it’s exciting. It’s going to be a great challenge for our team and for our guys.”

Besides Robert Mathis, there might not be a Colts defender that is more looking forward to finally being able to tackle No. 18, without repercussions, than Bethea.

“I’m pretty sure we are going to love to get our chances to get ‘P’ on the ground a few times,” Bethea said.

“But like I continue to say, it’s going to be a fun game. The atmosphere is going to be crazy Sunday night. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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