Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag: Most Impressive Players, Kwity Paye, Rock Ya-Sin And Keys For Bills Game

Ahead of a massive matchup against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Colts fans had questions about a number of topics ranging from the defense to how to win on Sunday in Western New York. 

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Colts.com readers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.

Missed out on the party this week? Not a problem — you can submit your question(s) for next time by clicking here, or by taking part in the Colts.com Forums. You can also send your questions to @JJStankevitz on Twitter.

Let's get after this week's questions:

JJ Stankevitz: I love this question, since it's easy to forget that Jonathan Taylor – now the NFL's leading rusher – averaged 3.8 yards per carry over his first nine games in the NFL. In Taylor's last 16 games, he has 280 carries for 1,678 yards with 16 rushing touchdowns.

As a quick aside, a running back has hit those numbers in a 16-game season just 13 times in NFL history.

Anyways, back to the part of your question about Kwity Paye. Per Pro Football Focus, Paye's game-by-game total pressures this year:

  • Week 1: 2
  • Week 2: 0
  • Week 3: 0
  • Week 6: 1
  • Week 7: 4
  • Week 8: 2
  • Week 9: 9
  • Week 10: 7

So 16 of Paye's 25 total pressures have come in the last two games; 22 of his 25 have come in the last four weeks. And he notched his first career sack against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, a moment he had been building toward for a little while with all those pressures.

"I think that really with any pro player you have to be in the game to figure it out, meaning that you can have all the practice you want and all of a sudden the game starts, man it's faster than you think," defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said. "Divisional games are faster, playoff games are even faster. It just hits you really fast, and to be able to figure out what works for you and the experience of that. So, I've seen that with a lot of rookies. ... I would say that with a pass rusher, it's really what works for them and then figuring out what works against the opponent because you have to adjust your game and have to set up the rushes, and I think that's what's slowing down for those guys and certainly for Kwity, to figure out what works for him and what he has to do with the guy he's going against and how does he set those things up."

As for the question about disrupting Josh Allen, that's absolutely a goal for this week. Allen was pressured on 22 drop-backs against the Jaguars and completed just seven passes for 90 yards with one interception on those, and the Bills scored just six points. Allen was sacked a season-high four times against Jacksonville.

Every quarterback struggles to some extent under pressure and Allen is no different:

  • Allen passer rating when pressured: 85.8, 47 percent completion rate
  • Allen passer rating when not pressured: 100.9, 73 percent completion rate

Something to keep in mind, though, is Allen's ability to escape pressure and make plays with his legs. Per PFF, Allen has 17 scrambles for 105 yards after he was pressured – and 95 of those yards have come after contact.

But also notable, perhaps: Of the 15 times Allen has been sacked this season, 10 have been in the last four weeks.

JJ Stankevitz: An obvious answer is Michael Pittman Jr. Check these out:

One other guy I want to highlight is Bobby Okereke, who's grown into his role as the Colts' Mike linebacker this season. He had big shoes to fill with Anthony Walker's departure and through 10 games, he's eighth in the NFL with 85 tackles.

Neal Miller, Cape Coral, Fla.: _Is there a problem with Marlon Mack, I see he is not getting much playing time? _

JJ Stankevitz: There's nothing wrong with Mack. Head coach Frank Reich talked this week about why he's been inactive for the Colts' last two games:

"It's painful to make him inactive," Reich said. "Every week that we've had to make him inactive, like I don't like doing that. But you have to do what's best for the team. We have to give JT the ball and Nyheim has his role. That third back has to contribute in special teams and Deon (Jackson) is doing that right now. I've said this, I'm going to continue to say it, I believe in Marlon Mack. I believe he's a really good player and I believe he's going to make a splash again somewhere, sometime here, somewhere else – however it plays out. I believe he's that kind of player and person."

Reich said he's had one-on-one conversations with Mack to communicate to him his belief in him, but also why he's not getting a jersey on gamedays.

"He's not happy about it, but he's not a distraction because he's a great pro and he's a great teammate," Reich said. "That's one of the reasons why it's so hard to do what we're doing. He knows he's a player. He's a big-time player, but it's a weird situation. You get behind the hottest back in the NFL who never gets tired and never needs a break. That's hard."

JJ Stankevitz: Good eye. Ya-Sin has been solid this season, especially over the last two games in which opposing quarterbacks have passer ratings of 77.5 (Mike White/Josh Johnson) and 39.6 (Trevor Lawrence) when throwing his way. Ya-Sin's PFF coverage grade of 70.7 ranks 32nd among cornerbacks this season and he's only been penalized once this season.

And Ya-Sin had a telling quote this week about his play in 2021.

"I feel like this year, I'm just not worried about getting beat," Ya-Sin said. "I'm just playing football, competing."

JJ Stankevitz: Maybe you're right, but I don't think you're giving the Colts' defense enough credit. A take-the-air-out-of-the-ball approach – which would confine Allen to the sideline – would be nice, but it's hardly the only way to win. The Bills did just lose, 9-6, to the Jaguars a few weeks ago, after all. The Colts' defense is second in the NFL in takeaways (behind, of course, the Bills) and a strong game on that side of the ball could be the reason why the Colts win too.

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