Colts must control Denver's run game

Updated: January 2, 2004, 11:36 AM ET
By By Football Scouts, Inc. | For ESPN Insider
Editor's note: After a week of watching film, Football Scouts, Inc., takes an second look at each NFL playoff match-up.

Matt Lepsis

  • The Broncos have to utilize some bootlegs and rollouts to take advantage of QB Jake Plummer's mobility. This puts pressure on the perimeter of the defense, as Plummer can either throw or run. ROT Matt Lepsis, a former college tight end, is mobile enough to pull out with Plummer and either pass block or run block in space. It is difficult to be successful running the bootleg if you don't have mobile offensive linemen that can block on the second level.

  • The Colts are improving each week in their cover-2 defense. Safeties Idrees Bashir and Mike Doss display the range to cover the deep half of the field, and they are intimidating hitters over the middle. As a result, it is difficult to execute vertical passing plays against this defense. The Broncos would like to lure SS Doss into the box in run support. If that happens, the Colts will be forced to go to cover-3 or play more man-to-man schemes with only one safety helping out over the top. This is when Denver's passing game will get some favorable match-ups, and Plummer must take advantage of his opportunities to throw downfield.