No team in the league this season has navigated adverse waters like the Colts, who, rather miraculously, have gone 6-2 since head coach Chuck Pagano left the team to undergo treatment for leukemia.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Pagano’s courageous fight and interim head coach Bruce Arians remarkable relief job has been the fact that the Colts’ success has come mostly without their two best defensive players, OLBs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, contributing simultaneously.
Freeney’s high ankle sprain, suffered in Week One, and Mathis hurting his back just as Freeney returned in Week Four (Mathis also missed Week 10 with a knee injury) has meant the duo have been on the field together for roughly 2-of-11 games.
However, much to the chagrin of 31 NFL teams, they’re back, together again, and coming off their finest showing of the season against the Bills.
Mathis has been his usual consistent self, notching at least one sack in every game except one this season. And while Freeney has just two sacks and clearly needed more time acclimating to a new position than Mathis, we hear his true impact can’t be measured in stats.
Both players were regulars in the backfield against the Bills and, word is the “D,” which has shown marked improvement over the past several weeks, could be poised to show its best form at the exact right time — as the Colts begin their stretch drive toward the postseason.