The Indianapolis Colts are off to a rocky start in the 2022 season, as they tied the Houston Texans in week one and were embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars in week two. I'm not here to sugarcoat any of this.. the Colts have been disastrous to start this season.
In an effort to stay somewhat positive, the team does have one player in the midst of a career-best start this year. Defensive tackle Grover Stewart has simply been phenomenal through two weeks for the Colts. Stewart currently leads all defensive tackles with seven run stops through two weeks, and his 47% run stop win rate is currently 10th among all qualifying defensive tackles.
There aren't many things to be positive about at the moment, but let's sit back and enjoy some dominant film that we've seen on the interior from the Colts' star defensive tackle.
The Numbers are Legit
Despite the Colts' early season struggles, their run defense has been quite dominant through two weeks, and Grover Stewart is a big reason for that. The team has allowed just 2.7 yards per carry this season (only 2.1 yards per carry outside of James Robinson's 37-yard TD in week two) and has 17 tackles for a loss/no gain in run defense through two weeks.
Stewart, as I mentioned above, has seven run stops this year and has 10 total tackles overall. His average depth of tackle is 0.5 yards past the line of scrimmage, which is the lowest among any defender with 10+ tackles this season. He has simply been disruptive in the run game to start this season.
Dominance in Week One
Grover Stewart started this season on the right track, racking up two tackles for a loss and four run stops in the Colts' opening day tie with the Houston Texans. While the team may have let fans down in this game, Stewart went out of his way to keep the Colts in this game until the very end.
His biggest highlight of the game came in overtime, as he made a huge third down stop in the waning minutes of the game. This stop ultimately forced the Texans to punt the ball away, leading to the tie rather than a defeat in week one. Stewart was borderline unblockable for the Texans' offensive line in week one.
Quiet Elite Play in Week Two
Stewart was just as dominant in week two for the Colts, it just went a bit more under the radar with how poorly the overall team performed. He graded out as Pro Football Focus' top defensive tackle in run defense on the week and was their seventh-highest defensive tackle overall.
On film, he was simply all over the place in run defense, even on plays where he wasn't securing the tackle. These two clips below feature plays where his instant penetration and disruption directly led to a negative rush for the Jaguars' offense:
Along with those plays, Stewart also had his fair share of disruptive moments where he ended up making the stop for a short gain/loss on the play. His overall awareness in run defense has improved exponentially over the past few seasons. He used to be just a disruptive force in the run game, but now he is a disruptive force that can finish plays. That is what makes him an elite interior run defender.
Here are a couple of his best run stops from this game:
The Bottom Line
The Indianapolis Colts are not playing like a good football team at the moment, but at least Grover Stewart is playing out of his mind to start the season. While I doubt that anybody reading this will find solace in a defensive tackle thriving on a bad team, I did feel the need to write this to let you all know that at least Big Grove is performing up to standards.
In all seriousness, the rest of the players on the team could stand to learn from Stewart these past two weeks. In a disastrous start to the season, Grover Stewart has been a dim light in an extremely dark tunnel.
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