Robert Mathis injury a 'devastating blow' to Colts

The Indianapolis Colts suffered through a midseason swoon last year when they lost offensive leader Reggie Wayne to an ACL injury.

Reacting to the news of pass rusher Robert Mathis' season-ending Achilles injury, coach Chuck Pagano drew a parallel between the two veterans.

"You've got your warrior, your leader in the locker room, your leader of the team and that presence alone," Pagano said, via the team's official website. "It was missed last night and now it will be missed.

"Really a devastating blow for Robert, his family, our team and our organization. This one stings."

The five-time Pro Bowl selection will be attempting a comeback at age 34 in 2015.

A finalist for Defensive Player of the Year last season, Mathis was the lone difference-maker on a defense that has allowed an average of 39 points and 431 yards in the last three games, going back to last year's playoffs.

The only other defender with more than five sacks in 2013 was inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who was forced from Sunday night's game with a hamstring injury. Bjoern Werner, last year's first-round draft pick, will be charged with filling the void. He has 2.5 sacks in 14 career games.

Pagano was brought to Indianapolis for a defensive expertise that has yet to materialize as an organizational strength. If he can't generate a pass rush in Mathis' absence, Colts fans might begin to wonder if he's the right man for the job.

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