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Colts defense comes up big on third downs and in the red zone against Giants

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 20, 2013 – 8:45 am

Two statistics that every NFL defensive coordinator looks at when scouring a post game box score are third-down efficiency and red zone efficiency.

Greg Manusky has to be very pleased with what his eyes are seeing after looking over the Colts/Giants box score.

Third Down efficiency: 3-15

Red Zone efficiency: 0-4

“We finished (eighth) last year in the NFL in red zone defense and they’ve kind of picked up right where they left off,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said of the team’s defense following the Colts 20-12 victory. “

The Colts four red zone stops of the Giants offense in the first half were as followed:

  • 12:17 to go in 1st quarter-With the Giants facing a fourth-and-one, Andre Brown is stuffed on a run to the left by Erik Walden and Antoine Bethea.
  • 6:44 to go in 1st quarter-The Giants settle for a 25-yard field goal after reaching the seven-yard line before an Eli Manning incompletion.
  • 4:09 to go in 2nd quarter-The Giants drive down to the Colts five-yard line but lose four yards on a David Wilson carry before eventually kicking a 27-yard field goal.
  • :03 to go in 2nd quarter-The Colts force a pair of incompletions from the Giants 12-yard line. New York kicks a 45-yard field goal after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The Colts defense holding the Giants to a 20 percent conversion rate on third-down was impressive but the unit also had some timely plays on the “money down.”

Greg Toler’s interception came on a third-and-one late in the first quarter.

Then in the second half with the Colts not allowing the Giants into the red zone, Caesar Rayford and Marshay Green both recorded sacks on third downs.

From a first-half yardage standpoint, there wasn’t much of a differential (15 yards) between the Colts and Giants.

It was all about defending the goal line that made up the eight-point difference.

“Our mindset down there is they aren’t in until they are in,” Pagano said of the red zone. “That’s third and goal from the 10, the seven, or from the one-yard line, we are going to do everything we can to keep them out.”

“Our guys are really comfortable with what we do down there, the schemes, the calls we make down there and the players do a nice job of executing them.”

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