INDIANAPOLIS -- So much has been made about the Indianapolis Colts inability to protect quarterback Andrew Luck during his first two seasons.
The New England Patriots have bigger problems when it comes to protecting their quarterback.
Tom Brady was sacked 40 times during the regular season. Luck went from being sacked 41 times his rookie season to being sacked 32 times this season.
Brady’s will to win is undeniable, but league-sack leader Robert Mathis and the rest of the defense have a great opportunity to put pressure on him in Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game because of a suspect New England offensive line.
Brady was sacked at least four times in a game on six different occasions during the regular season. New Orleans and the New York Jets got to him five times each.
“(Brady will) drop down and take the sack as opposed to just standing there and forcing something down the field, letting you make a turnover and return it for a touchdown,” Colts defensive lineman Cory Redding said. “He’s definitely not going to do that. He trusts himself and he trusts his guys enough to if he has to take a down, then that’s what it is. We just have to come up with a good plan, figure out who’s around and attack whoever it is and get pressure on the quarterback as much as possible.”
Unlike Luck, Brady isn’t a mobile quarterback. He won’t tuck the ball and take off running to avoid being sacked the same way Luck does. Brady only rushed for 18 yards on 32 attempts this season.
Everything seems to favor the Colts' defense in this match up, but it's easier said and done when facing one of the league's best quarterbacks.
"They are very balanced," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "You can’t just go in and say hey you got to get after Tom and put pressure on him and get him off the spot and try to frustrate him. From a schematic standpoint, disguise, all those type of things, they are balanced. The offensive line has taken a few hits injury-wise. They’ve lost a couple guys. They’re playing at a high level. They are balanced and they can run the football and certainly we know that they can throw it all over the place too and be really effective doing it.”