Andrew Luck being placed on the Injured Reserve a few weeks ago had to be the easiest prediction of this wonky NFL year. Not only was Luck coming back from a serious shoulder injury that left him without a preseason, but the team had to know what they had talent wise around him. A new General Manager with a rebuilding defense and a poor offensive line assembled around Luck, and some assumed that they would rush their franchise quarterback into the lineup as soon as possible. The Colts lost in Week One 46-9 in a game where Scott Tolzien was sacked four times. The next week, now starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was sacked four times. Yes, Andrew Luck should be better at avoiding sacks than these two. Still, the way that their offensive line was ripped apart for two straight weeks had to assure any NFL follower that Luck had no business risking his health to stand behind that offensive line in meaningless games.
Fast forward to Week Ten and the Colts are 3-6. They also are still the team that allows the most sacks in the NFL. There is no doubt that some of this is on Brissett. The knock on him coming out of college was establishing where the blitz was coming from, and understanding how to speed things up under pressure. That is why it is no surprise that 42% of the times Brisset has been sacked the opposition sent a blitz of more than four pass rushers. On five occasions that blitzer came in completely unaccounted for and untouched by the offensive line. Blame goes to the line, sure, but it also is on Brissett to understand who is coming, as he, like his line, was completely blindsided by these plays.
35% of the sacks that the Colts have allowed have come against the tackle position. All but one came on your standard four man rush. These were straight up one on one losses. Joe Haeg, the right tackle has been credited with seven sacks allowed this year. In almost every game he has played this season he has handed out a sack. This should be a great matchup and opportunity for Bud Dupree. He has three sacks so far this season, and could use a confidence boosting game in a plus matchup to get his second half of the season on the right track.
This could also mean a big game for Mike Hilton. Hilton is the blitzing extraordinaire for the Steelers this season. The team should line him up on Dupree’s side, and test the weak link of the line and the weak decision making and play recognition of Brissett. The Steelers are big favorites in this game. There is a very real chance that they get a big lead early into this game and begin to unleash on the Colts offensive line.