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Why Colts see Samson Ebukam's strip-sack as a sign they're peaking at right time

During the Colts' three-game winning streak, their defense has gotten seven takeaways and sacked opposing quarterbacks 15 times.

Defense Peak

From the suspension of starting defensive tackle Grover Stewart to the decision to waive linebacker Shaquille Leonard, the Colts defense has been dealt some tough blows over the past month. However, rather than falter and use the changes in personnel as an excuse, the defense has been playing some of its best ball.

During their current three-game win streak, they've forced seven turnovers and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 15 times.

"We're 3-0 in November. We're right where we want to be making a push for the playoffs," linebacker E.J. Speed said. "Not to down anyone else further in our schedule, but I feel like we are at our peak right now. We're playing good and we're just gonna keep rolling with this momentum into the playoffs."

In Sunday's 27-20 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Colts' knack for creating turnovers reared its head at the perfect time.

With 1:36 left in the game, the Buccaneers were slowly gaining momentum as they were doing their best to drive downfield to score a game-tying touchdown.

That all changed on third-and-4 when defensive end Samson Ebukam beat star left tackle Tristan Wirfs on the edge to knock the ball out of the hands of quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The fumble was ultimately recovered by defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo and effectively slammed the door on the Buccaneers' comeback hopes.

"Coming down the stretch, there ain't nothing better than a strip-sack, especially on the defensive line," defensive end Tyquan Lewis said. "The pass rush and coverage, coverage and pass rush all work together. You see it works wonders when you do it. We had six sacks today, so all of that goes hand-in-hand and it just boosts the morale of the defense."

Through the Colts' first eight games, plays like Ebukam's late-game strip-sack were far and few between, particularly at home. In fact, in all four of their home losses, the unit had given up points in the final five minutes of the contest.

In their last three games, the latest an opponent has scored a touchdown on them was Sunday when the Buccaneers did it with 12:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt, cornerback Jaylon Jones said the unit's stingy defensive play along with the balanced offense can take the team far this season.

"We just have to keep the train rolling and keep becoming closer as a team," cornerback Jaylon Jones said. "Our guys have all bought in, so everything is possible."

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