The Indianapolis Colts continue to impress.
A year ago, the Colts were mired in a season-long losing streak and ended the year with a 2-14 record. This season, with a re-made roster and a new coaching staff, Indianapolis finds itself with a 6-3 mark and in contention for a return to the postseason after a one-year absence.
Few would have envisioned such a quick turnaround for the Colts, but Indianapolis finds itself solidly in second place in the AFC South and as the No. 5 seed in a potential AFC playoff format.
Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians came away from Thursday night’s nationally televised 27-10 road win over Jacksonville liking what he saw.
“After watching the [game] tape, I was really pleased with the effort we put forth in all three phases. Really, the defensive line I thought dominated the game. The offensive line, we ran the ball pretty effectively. If our wide receivers block a little more, we’ll get some more chunks in our running game,” Arians said Friday afternoon.
“Overall, [I] can’t say enough about our young guys preparing on a short week and the veteran leadership that got them there. We made errors. We made some stupid plays in the fourth quarter, both offensively and defensively. But at that point and time, it didn’t cost us the game, but it will cost us the game down the road. We have a lot of things to clean up, but a lot of good things to build on.”
Arians, though, likes how Indianapolis has positioned itself. Up next on the schedule is a trip to Foxboro on Nov. 18 to face longtime nemesis New England.
“We’ve got a big game [coming up]. We’ll take a little rest and try to get some guys healthy. We should get some guys back now, so we’ll got see what we can do on a big stage,” Arians said. “It’s just about next week. We’ll add it all up at the end.”
I I I
n On the road again — After beginning the season with road losses to Chicago and the New York Jets, Indianapolis has posted victories at Tennessee and Jacksonville.
Finding wins on the road will be crucial to the Colts’ playoff chances over the next month. Indianapolis has four more games away from Lucas Oil Stadium, including next weekend’s matchup with the Patriots.
“[Of] the remainder of the schedule, the majority is on the road. Unless something crazy would happen, if we got into the playoffs, it would probably be on the road. Just learning to win on the road, this will be a huge challenge next week,” Arians said.
“[New England is] the perennial contender, at their house, a lot of our veteran guys have been in that battle many, many times and can tell the young guys what to expect. But we’ve got half our roster that will experience it for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it.”
n Luck looking ahead — While rookie quarterback Andrew Luck appreciated the road win over Jacksonville, he knows next weekend’s trip to Foxboro won’t be easy.
“[The win over the Jaguars] was the biggest game to date by far and to win was great. Obviously, it’s nice to be 6-3. But we realize it’s just one step in the journey,” he said.
“We know it only gets harder from here, so we’re going to have to buckle down and put in twice as much effort and twice as much work.”
n Butler impressive — Cornerback Darius Butler made his first start at right cornerback a good one Thursday night.
Butler registered four tackles, a pair of interceptions, two passes broken up and a recovered fumble. He was filling in for injured Jerraud Powers.
His first interception came off starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert and was returned 11 yards for a touchdown. Butler then picked off backup QB Chad Henne in the fourth quarter.
Arians said that the former Patriots draft pick deserves a second start. Powers (toe) and Vontae Davis (knee) missed the Jacksonville game.
“He gets to be a starter. That’s the main thing. You get an opportunity, Wally Pipp, you forget about whoever’s hurt. That’s the whole beauty of the mantra ‘next man up.’ Don’t give it up, once you get it,” the Colts’ assistant said.
“[General manager] Ryan [Grigson] gave [Butler] an opportunity to reclaim a career and he’s making the best of it.”
Arians didn’t say who Butler would replace next week. He wants to wait and see how Powers and Davis are, health-wise, before making a final call.
“We’ll see how long they’re out. If he’s getting two picks, I bet he’s still starting,” he said, adding that Butler could end up at either left or right cornerback if need be.
“Yeah, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
n Luck as a tackler — Luck showed his tenacity Thursday when he attempted to tackle Jacksonville safety Dawan Landry after throwing an interception late in the second quarter.
Landry returned the pick 21 yards before lateraling the ball off to safety Chris Prosinski for an additional 2 yards. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne finally knocked Prosinski down.
The idea of Indianapolis’ starting quarterback trying to make a tackle is commendable, but not recommended.
“As long as it’s his left shoulder [take the brunt of the tackle]. No right shoulders tackles and don’t get in a reason to have to tackle,” Arians stressed Monday.
n Injuries — Defensive tackle Drake Nevis left the Jacksonville game in the second quarter with an apparent hand injury. He did not return.
Sitting out the game with previous injuries were Powers, Davis, tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder), outside linebacker Robert Mathis (back), center Samson Satele (back) and offensive tackle Winston Justice (knee). Running back Donald Brown (knee) was active but did not start. He rotated with Vick Ballard and Delone Carter.
Arians said he doesn’t know yet if any of the team’s injured players will be available to go against New England.
“Obviously, we gave the team time off until Monday. We’ll reconvene and catch up. Hopefully, get four guys back and be almost at full strength, and see how it goes Monday and especially Wednesday.” he mentioned.
n Luck wins FedEx passing award — Luck was awarded the FedEx NFL Air Player of the Week after he completed 30 of 48 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Junior Achievement in Indianapolis will be awarded a $2,000 donation in Luck’s name.
Win over Jaguars puts Indy at 6-3
The Indianapolis Colts continue to impress.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
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Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
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Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
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Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
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Many doubt Cincy runner scored on goal-line play
Did he make it or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
Heavy snow appears in forecast for Colts
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