By halftime of Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Colts, Indianapolis fans must have had that pit in the middle of their stomachs – the same one they’ve had in two of the Colts’ first four games.
In the Colts’ two losses this season, the Texans and Jaguars were able to run the ball at will against Indy’s soft defensive interior. At halftime on Sunday, the Chiefs had already rushed for 84 yards and thanks to a monster effort by Tamba Hali and the rest of KC’s defense, the Colts only led by a field goal.
But the much maligned Indianapolis front seven finally got it together and held Kansas City to just 30 yards rushing in the second half. The effort allowed the Colts to leave the RCA Dome on Sunday with a 19-9 win despite a lackluster effort by their offense (most notably Ryan Diem, who spent most of the afternoon impersonating a revolving door for Hali to get to Peyton Manning). They also held Thomas Jones to just 19 rushing yards on eight carries.
Of course, it’s much easier to stop the run when you know the other team can’t throw. Matt Cassel and the rest of KC’s passing game was once again non-existent so the Colts knew if they could mount up against the run, they would come away with a win. But regardless of the Chiefs’ passing woes, Indy’s run defense took charge for the first time all year.
The Colts are going to need this kind of effort from their run defense all season.