It hardly seems to matter if it's Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky, Kerry Collins or the dried up carcass of Jeff George out there at quarterback; the Colts offense has ground to a halt without Peyton Manning. Their running game has been ineffective, their receivers are out of sync and their patchwork offensive line gives up too much pressure.
But the Colts offense only partially shares the blame for the Colts putrescence. The Colts defense was only mediocre in the Colts first six games, but has been awful since the New Orleans Saints put a 62-7 drubbing on them.
Below are three reasons why the Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback, Cam Newton, will torch the Colts' awful defense this Sunday and continue Indy's inexorable march toward the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.
1. The Indianapolis Colts secondary is atrocious and can't stop good quarterbacks.
Jerraud Powers and Antoine Bethea have continued to perform well for the Colts. After those two guys, however, the rest of the Colts' secondary is deplorable.
Third-year cornerback Jacob Lacey looked like a practice squad guy when he was out there. Kevin Thomas and rookie Chris Rucker have potential, but both are still raw and mistake-prone. Terrence Johnson couldn't cover his feet if they were freezing, and David Caldwell misses tackles at an alarming rate.
Of course, it doesn't help those guys that defensive coordinator Larry Coyer's loose Cover 2 scheme gives wide receivers too much room to shake free of the Colts soft defense.
When up against quarterbacks who can make tough throws downfield, the Colts have come up small. Matt Schaub, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees all put up huge numbers against the Colts in blow-out wins. Expect the same out of Cam Newton, who has shown that he has fantastic chemistry with Steve Smith.
2. Cam Newton will run through defenders when he keeps the ball.
The Colts haven't faced a good running quarterback this season. Although they're a speedy defense, they can get run over due to their relatively diminutive size. Cam Newton will be able to make hay on the ground against the Colts porous defense.
3. The Colts defense doesn't play well from behind.
The Colts defense was built to pin their ears back and get to opposing teams' quarterbacks. That advantage is neutralized when the Colts have to play from behind. With Peyton Manning under center, the Colts could keep pace, and then, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis could come quickly off the edge in obvious passing situations.
With the Colts failing to put up many points, other teams know that they can keep a well-balanced offense that mixes running plays and passing plays to keep the defense off kilter.
Cam Newton and the Panthers will absolutely torch the wretched Colts defense on Sunday. The Colts will remain winless as the season marches on.