Sports

Secondary problems becoming major focus for Indianapolis' struggling defense

  • Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 9-yard touchdown pass against Indianapolis Colts free safety Darius Butler (20) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 9-yard touchdown pass against Indianapolis Colts free safety Darius Butler (20) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) catches a 1-yard touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

    Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) catches a 1-yard touchdown pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano pats Aubrayo Franklin (97) on the helmet as he walks off the field in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

    Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano pats Aubrayo Franklin (97) on the helmet as he walks off the field in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)  (The Associated Press)

The Colts need a primary solution to a secondary problem.

They can't stop the pass, and the problem has been getting worse as Indianapolis (8-5) gears up for the playoffs.

Through this season's first seven games, the Colts allowed quarterbacks to complete 58.7 percent of their attempts and gave up only three TD passes longer than 20 yards. Over the last six, quarterbacks have a completed 64.9 percent and have six TD passes longer than 20 yards.

What's wrong?

Well, starting cornerback Greg Toler hasn't played since Oct. 20 because of an injured groin, and the Colts' defensive front is averaging nearly half as many sacks during the last six games as it did over the first seven.

Coach Chuck Pagano is doing what he can to find a fix.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org