News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 29, 2011

A very different NFL showdown

Belichick may not have faced an Indianapolis team that’s this bad before

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Anytime that the Indianapolis Colts face the New England Patriots, it’s a big deal.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a regular-season game, an early-round playoff matchup or for the AFC title.

Which bring us to Sunday’s road trip to Gillette Stadium where the 0-11 Colts will face the 8-3 Patriots.

After Indianapolis gave up 62 points in an embarrassing 62-7 road loss to New Orleans on Oct. 23, the question must be asked: Will Bill Belichick try to embarrass the Colts?

“Our job is . . . no matter who we’re playing . . . we’ve got to play defense. We’ve got to play defense, and we have to do a good job in terms of making certain that we stop them,” Coach Jim Caldwell explained Monday.

“It’s not anybody’s responsibility. It’s not a coach’s responsibility to lessen the blow at any point in time. That’s not his responsibility. It’s our responsibility to play.”

That being said, facing New England with quarterback Tom Brady at the controls won’t be easy.

“I think our guys know we’re up for a challenge, and we’re looking forward to it,” Caldwell said.

“They’re a tough team, they’ve been playing well and we’re trying to get ourselves in position where we’re playing like we’re capable of playing.”

The Colts coach expects his team to live up to the rivalry’s usual intensity.

“The dynamics will be different, but just in terms of, obviously, having an opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the league that’s playing extremely well. I think the guys will be looking forward to that,” he said.

“They are highly explosive, highly efficient and [they have] a great quarterback. Obviously, they put points on the board, they’ve been scoring a lot of points and they can strike from everywhere. You saw [Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady throw a 99-yard touchdown pass a couple of weeks ago, so these guys are a very talented group. So they don’t need any help, that’s for certain.”

• Painter still in command – Curtis Painter remains as the Colts starting quarterback heading into Sunday's game with New England.

Painter got off to a slow start in the team’s 27-19 loss to Carolina but did have Indianapolis in position to tie the Panthers late in the fourth quarter. He completed 15-of-29 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. An end zone interception, his second of the day, ended the Colts’ chances for their first win of the season.

“I think Curtis improved a bit. He had a little tough start, but then he came along. He engineered some nice drives for us. I don’t think there’s any question about [Painter as the starter]. He improved a bit, but we’ll continue to evaluate it and see what best suits us,” Caldwell said.

“But I think he made a little progress in the game except for the couple turnovers, but other than that I thought he did some good things also.”

• Manning update – Quarterback Peyton Manning (neck) is due to have another X-Ray/checkup on Wednesday.

Manning, who underwent neck fusion surgery on Sept. 8, said that he will update the media on his ongoing rehab process later this week.

• Roster moves – The Colts claimed running back Jerome Felton off waivers from Carolina Monday afternoon.

Felton, 6-0, 246 pounds, is in his fourth NFL season after originally being selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.