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Indianapolis Colts

Colts Defense "Building an Inferno"

Intro: Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Colts defense has strung together two of its best performances of the year. Can the defense carry those efforts into the month of January?





INDIANAPOLIS – Fili Moala calls it a "building an inferno".

Cory Redding is simply having fun going out there with his defense.

Chuck Pagano is just trying to "pack a defense" down the stretch.

Whatever you want to call it, the Colts defense is playing arguably its best football of the year over the last two weeks.

Whether it's hits by Antoine Bethea or the four forced turnovers last week, the defense is beginning to look like the type of unit Pagano has envisioned ever since arriving to Indianapolis.

"Obviously gaining momentum. Playing with a ton of confidence right now," Pagano says of the defense.

"They're having fun. There's certain plays that are being made out there that are sparking this defense and this team."

The stats over the last two weeks certainly back up Pagano's assessment.

  •  The 10 combined points allowed by the Colts are tied for the fewest they've allowed in back-to-back weeks since the end of September.
  •  The Colts have allowed 132 passing yards in each of the last two contests, the fewest they've allowed in a game all season.
  •  A combined 6-of-24 conversions on third-down by Houston and Kansas City the last two weeks have contributed to 13 three-and-outs forced by the Colts defense.
  •  The 9.0 sacks are the most the Colts have had in back-to-back weeks all season.
  •  Over the past two weeks, the Colts have controlled the ball for 24:22 more than their opponents

With Greg Toler back in the lineup and Ricky Jean Francois "trending in the right direction", the Colts defense would appear to be the healthiest its been in a long, long time.

"It's basically been the little things. Taking care of what you can take care of. Not trying to do too much. Play within the framework of the defense. Trust the man right next to you. That's what we're relying on in the last three or four weeks," Redding says of the defensive success.

"This truly has been a big difference maker. Not going out there, just doing what you want to do, but just trusting the man next to you. Believing in your fundamentals and technique and just doing your job. If you do your job and everybody else does their job, they're going to be successful. That's been the main focus the last few weeks."

One player not named Robert Mathis, who is starting to garner some attention away from the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center is inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman.

The reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, Freeman is once again leading the Colts in tackles but has also contributed 4.5 sacks and forced seven turnovers in 2013.

"Just like everybody else, he's playing with a great deal of confidence," Pagano says of Freeman.

"He's flying around. He's a versatile guy. He's great against the run. He's doing real good against the pass. You blitz him, he comes around and gets a strip-sack, force the fumble on the quarterback. He's an athletic guy and he's got the ability, obviously, to make those plays. It's a good time for him to get hot."

The whole entire Colts defense is beginning to get "hot" at the time of year that has everyone looking towards January.

Pagano has always talked about the need to run the football this time of year but don't think for a second the defensive-minded coach has forgotten about his own unit.

"We talk about it all the time. You better be able to pack a defense. Right now, our defense is playing extremely well."

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