Jim Caldwell: Colts' Missed Tackles Led to Kyle Orton's Big Day
Caldwell said the good obviously was holding the Broncos to six points on five red-zone possessions, and it was that sort of clutch defensive play that enabled Indianapolis to leave Denver with a 27-13 victory and a share of the AFC South lead.
The not-so-good: the pass defense.
But Caldwell said what was concerning about the pass defense wasn't as much the career-high 476 by Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, but how those yards occurred. A lot of was missed tackles, Caldwell said.
Way too many missed tackles.
"How it's done more so than anything else is the thing we have to correct," Caldwell said Monday, a day after the Colts moved into a first-place tie win the AFC South with Tennessee and Houston despite being out-gained 519-365. "A lot of it was due to missed tackles. There are a lot of good receivers in this league and a lot of good quarterbacks. Their timing is impeccable and often times, they're going to put it in a place where you can't get to it.
"The thing you have to do is keep it in front of you and get them down on the ground. The real key is, 'Let's keep them contained,' which we didn't do a great job of. That's something we have to look at it and get corrected."
Even with Orton passing effectively between the 20s, the Colts never trailed and the Broncos never seriously threatened to take control of the game's momentum. Indianapolis took a 13-0 first-half lead, and after the Broncos pulled to within three, 13-10, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's two second-half touchdown passes helped secure the victory.
The Colts also held the Broncos on downs three times in the red zone – once from the 1-yard line in the first half and twice in the second half.
"The key is scoring," Caldwell said. "If you can keep them from scoring points, obviously you're going to end up in pretty good shape. You have a chance to win, at least. But you're not happy at all, obviously, any time anybody can gain an inordinate amount of yards against you."
Said Colts safety Antoine Bethea, "I think we did good as a unit down there. The defensive line did a good job, and the back seven hung in there, and that's one thing that we harp on. When they get in the red zone, you may bend, but don't break. We held them to field goals, and we did a great job.
"It means a lot. It gives our team a lot more intensity. Down there, they're about to score, and it's fourth and one, and we stop them and put our offense back on the field. It gives us confidence on the field, so we can get back out there and do our job."