Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
of class when it comes to securing one of the two available wild-card berths
in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
Coupled with the Pittsburgh Steelers' 20-14 loss at Cleveland, the Colts'
20-13 home-field National Football League win Sunday over Buffalo gives the
team a 7-4 record heading into next week's road game with Detroit.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, had eight turnovers without its two top quarterbacks
in losing to the Browns. The Steelers are now tied with surging Cincinnati
for the second wild-card spot, both with 6-5 records.
While interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians continues to stress
taking each game as it comes, coming away with a win over Buffalo was huge.
"You know, in the beginning when this thing was put together, [coach] Chuck
[Pagano] built everything on team. I think that was a team victory right
there," Arians said Sunday. "I couldn't be prouder of the football team
because Chuck was [at the game] and the goal was to make him smile when he
left. And I'm sure he¹s up there [in team owner Jim Irsay's stadium suite]
Indianapolis had to battle through some rough patches en route to the win
over the Bills. With the Colts' offense slow to get untracked, it was left
up to the defense and – yes – the special teams units to come up with some
They certainly didn't disappoint. Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton's 75-yard
punt return for a touchdown midway through the first quarter had put
Indianapolis out in front early, giving the Colts a lead that they would
Two Adam Vinatieri field goals (from 25 and 19 yards out), along with an
8-yard pass from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to Hilton late in the third
quarter, provided all the scoring Indianapolis would need. But the Bills,
who had come into the game needing a win in order to boost their post-season
hopes, certainly made things interesting.
Their defense sacked Luck four times, three by Pro Bowl end Mario Williams
and one by tackle Marcell Dareus, and intercepted him once (backup
cornerback Justin Rogers). Luck also looked out of rhythm all afternoon,
completing 20 of 37 passes for 240 yards and a TD. He misfired to wide-open
receivers early in the game and then struggled at times to get the ball
downfield due to the constant pass rush.
Still, the Colts made plays when necessary in other areas. Hilton's punt
return got Indianapolis off to a good start. The defense, led by inside
linebacker Jerrell Freeman, bent often but limited Buffalo to just one
touchdown and a pair of field goals by Rian Lindell (33 and 31 yards).
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's 1-yard toss to backup tight end Lee Smith
with 11:30 remaining in the game had narrowed the margin to 20-13. When it
looked like the Bills were on their way to tie the game in the fourth
quarter, safety Tom Zbikowski intercepted Fitzpatrick and returned it 20
yards before fumbling the ball back to Buffalo.
Still the Indianapolis defense made plays. With 4:31 left, the Colts' pass
rush forced Fitzpatrick out of the pocket on first down and a pickup of six
yards. Freeman, who ended the game with 16 total tackles, dropped Bills
running back C.J. Spiller for a 4-yard loss on second down.
A third-down pass from Fitzpatrick to Spiller fell incomplete. Buffalo
punter Shawn Powell's booted the ball away and pinned Indianapolis back at
its own 5-yard line. The Bills, though, never saw the ball again.
The Colts controlled the final 3:22 of the game, picking up a big first down
with an 11-yard run on second down. A 14-yard pass from Luck to wide
receiver Reggie Wayne, also coming on second down, gave Indianapolis another
first down and another chance to control the clock.
And, finally on third-and-10 with 1:48 left in the game, Luck's pass to
Wayne was incomplete but the Bills were called for pass interference on the
play. Game over.
Wayne ended the game with eight catches for 102 yards, which was impressive
enough. But he also used his veteran skills as a receiver to draw a pair of
crucial pass interference penalties, enabling the Colts to keep drives
"All phases, our special teams, showed up huge. I thought they won the game
for us. Not only with the return for the touchdown and the field position
they created but how well they covered. Those are two great returners
[Buffalo's Leodis McKelvin and Brad Smith]. We asked [punter] Pat [McAfee]
to have his best game ever as a kicker and he really contributed. He kicked
the ball great," Arians said afterward.
"They didn¹t give them anything on defense, hung in there when they had to.
Offensively, we were able to put a drive together and finish one there at
the end of the third quarter, which I thought was a solid drive. At the end
of the game, to be able to ice it out running and throwing – it's not a time
to get conservative, it¹s a time to make first downs. Our guys did a good
job of doing that."
Buffalo had some success offensively. Spiller rushed 14 times for 107 yards,
including a long run of 41 yards. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson caught six
passes for 106 yards, with a long play of 63 yards. But after both of those
plays, the Colts defense didn¹t allow a touchdown. And as the game turned
out, not giving up a TD in either or both situations loomed large later.
"You knew C.J. [Spiller] was going to break one or two; just keep him out of
the end zone and don't let him score. Our guys hustled to the end. We chased
some guys down on long plays and then defended every blade of grass that was
left and that¹s the way you play defense," Arians said.
Fitzpatrick completed 17 of 33 passes for 180 yards and a TD. He was also
sacked twice, one each by Freeman and outside linebacker Robert Mathis.
The Colts plan to celebrate the win over Buffalo for a short time and then
begin preparations for a tough matchup with Detroit.
"It's just one game at a time. Once you start doing that, we're going to add
them up and see where we stand tomorrow. I know we have seven wins and not
too many teams do," Arians voiced.
"We've got a big, big challenge in Detroit against a high-powered offense
and another great front four. We¹ll see how our guys came out [of Sunday's
game] and see who is available Wednesday and go back to work."
Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
Colts suffer another season-ending injury in guard Thomas
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano must be getting tired of being the bearer of bad news.
First it was running back Vick Ballard, who suffered a torn left Achilles during practice last Friday. And on Wednesday, offensive guard Donald Thomas went down with a torn right quadriceps muscle.
Colts notebook: Rookie Mewhort ready to compete
So just who is Jack Mewhort?
Well, the Indianapolis Colts rookie is slated to take over as the team’s new starting left guard due to the season-ending quad injury suffered Wednesday by veteran Donald Thomas.
A former standout at Ohio State, the 6-foot-6, 308-pound Mewhort was selected by the Colts in the second round of this spring’s NFL draft. And since Indianapolis didn’t have a first-round pick, the Toledo, Ohio, native is getting a lot more scrutiny that most second-rounders taken in the draft.
Colts need Woerner to step up in Mathis' absence
Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner — the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts— is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.
Colts' Thomas leaves practice with lower-leg injury
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been trying to take a lighter approach to training camp practices this year in an effort to slow down the list of injuries that dogged his team a year ago.
Pagano’s plans, though, haven’t been bearing fruit.
Colts, Fleener focused on situational football
One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes.
The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field and the Colts’ 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.
Colts waive running back Rainey
What a difference a couple of days make. After Saturday's morning training camp practice, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was effusive in his praise of running back Chris Rainey. But on Monday, the Colts surprisingly announced that Rainey had been waived after violating an unspecified team policy.
Colts camp: Defense shines in workout
There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two.
Colts seek more adaptable offensive line
That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are looking for on their retooled offensive line.
Hot, humid, rainy: Colts work through first day in full pads
Rain, rain go away. That’s pretty much what happened Sunday afternoon on the fourth day of Indianapolis Colts training camp.
Pagano, Colts 'feel awful' for Ballard
The news coming from Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after Saturday morning’s practice may have been expected, but the fact that running back Vick Ballard suffered yet another season-ending injury was still disappointing.
COLTS NOTEBOOK: Luck draws comparisons to Rodgers, Roethlisberger
Quarterback Andrew Luck continues to be the main attraction as the Indianapolis Colts training camp wrapped up its third day of workouts at Anderson University.
Colts' Hamilton excited to get to work with talent on team's offense
As he heads into his second season as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton has a pretty good feel for what he wants to get accomplished this year.
Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.
Colts begin training camp with loftier goals in 2014
With training camp starting today at Anderson University, third-year head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson both believe that the Indianapolis Colts are ready to take another big step in 2014.
Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans
Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.
Colts know what they want to accomplish at mini-camp
With three weeks of organized team activity practices now behind them, the Indianapolis Colts headed into their three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday with a specific goal in mind when training camp starts July 23 at Anderson University.
The mini-camp will continue today and wrap up early Thursday afternoon.
Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
Colts agree to terms with veteran safety
Mike Adams will get a chance to erase bad memories from Super Bowl XLVIII as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
The franchise announced Saturday morning it had agreed to terms with the veteran safety.
Adams started the NFL's most recent championship game at free safety for the Denver Broncos and recorded six tackles in a 43-8 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
Newcomers to Colts trying to find their way
That’s what many of the Indianapolis Colts have been trying to do during the first week of organized team activity practices. OTA sessions began Tuesday and will wrap up in two weeks.
Pagano, Colts look at Mathis' suspension as opportunity for young players
The Indianapolis Colts lost first-year head coach Chuck Pagano for most of 2012 season as he battled leukemia. Gloom and doom was predicted. The result? An 11-5 record and a trip to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.
NFL suspends Colts’ Robert Mathis
While the Indianapolis Colts three-day rookie mini-camp got under way Friday morning, the biggest news didn’t come until later in the day.
Grigson excited about potential of Colts' 2014 draft picks
With the 2014 NFL draft wrapping up Saturday evening, the Indianapolis Colts came away with a diverse group of players to add to the roster.
Colts take versatile offensive lineman with first pick
It may have taken awhile, but the Indianapolis Colts came away from their first pick in the 2014 National Football League Draft with a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard, tackle and center.
Colts keep options open as NFL Draft begins today
While the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway today (8 p.m.) at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Indianapolis Colts will be sitting the first round out.
Thanks to last September’s trade with the Cleveland Browns that brought running back Trent Richardson – a 2012 first-round selection by the Browns – to Indianapolis, the Colts will be on the outside looking in this evening.
Colts’ Luck getting timing down with newcomer Nicks
The Indianapolis Colts have officially put the 2013 season in the rear-view mirror with the start of the team’s off-season conditioning workouts, which got under way at the team’s West 56th Street Indiana Farm Bureau Center on Monday morning.
Colts open against Manning, Broncos
Indianapolis will open this season at AFC champion Denver in a Sunday night showdown pitting quarterback Peyton Manning against his former team.
Colts take another look at Shakir Bell
Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.
Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility
The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.
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- Colts suffer another season-ending injury in guard Thomas