When contemplating the effectiveness of the Colts’ offensive tackles, you’ve got to start with the elder statesman, Castonzo.
The Colts’ blindside protector since 2011, he had one of the better years of his career in 2019 as he finished as PFF’s fifth-best offensive tackle, and the No. 2 left tackle, with a grade of 81.3.
It was the third-best overall grade of his career after he played in all 1,076 offensive snaps for the Colts.
You want your left tackle to keep pass-rushers out of the quarterback’s bubble, and that was Castonzo’s calling card once again last season.
His grade of 84.4 in pass protection was sixth among offensive tackles after allowing just 34 total pressures all season, which included 26 hurries, five hits and three sacks. Castonzo was one of only 12 starting offensive tackles to allow three or fewer sacks, and he wasn’t too handsy and aggressive with defenders either, as his two penalties were the fewest among all tackles.
With the Colts having a smashmouth, run-heavy approach on offense, Castonzo was a major piece of that puzzle. His run-blocking grade of 70.2 was eighth-best among tackles, and third among left tackles.
Castonzo and Smith complement each other quite well. While they both have a well-rounded game, Castonzo’s strength is pass protection while Smith’s strength comes as a run blocker.
According to PFF, Smith was not only the seventh-best offensive tackle in the NFL last season (79.8), but he was the third-best run blocker among them with a grade of 86.4.
Smith ranked 26th among tackles in pass-blocking and 12th among right tackles with a grade of 68.1 after allowing 46 pressures on the quarterback, which specifically ranked 14th among right tackles, including 30 hurries, nine hits and seven sacks. However, just like Castonzo, Smith plays clean and doesn’t put his team in holes, as his five penalties in 2019 were the fifth-fewest among tackles.
As a pair, Castonzo and Smith were very reliable to run the ball behind in 2019. The Colts ran the ball behind or to the outside of the pair 193 times for 831 yards (4.3 avg.), six touchdowns, 49 first downs and 21 runs of 10-plus yards.
The Colts had one of the truly high-powered rushing attacks in 2019. It was the first time since 1994 that they hit the 2,000-rushing yard mark, and they posted their fifth-best yards-per-carry average in team history (4.52).
PFF graded the Colts offense as the second-best run blocking unit in the league with a grade of 85.1, and 10th in rushing overall at 78.7.
Their offense ranked inside the top 10 in firsts downs by rush (second, 131), percentage of first downs by rush (second, 27.8), runs of 20-plus yards (fifth, 14), overall rushing (seventh, 133.1 yards per game), runs of 40-plus yards (tied-ninth, three) and rushing touchdowns (tied-10th, 17).
The Colts’ offensive front wasn’t too shabby at keeping pressure away from the quarterback either, as they ranked 13th in pass blocking (75.1) and were tied for allowing the ninth-fewest sacks (32).