Can anyone explain how the Indianapolis Colts have managed to string together a 9-4 National Football League record this season?
The Colts have rebounded from a 2-14 record last year, which forced a massive roster reboot along with major changes on the coaching staff and in the front office.
Indianapolis goes into this week’s AFC South game at Houston with a chance to clinch a wild-card playoff berth.
With a win over the Texans — or losses by either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati — the Colts will find themselves back in the playoffs after a one-year absence.
Who would have believed it at the beginning of the season? Most observers had already penciled in Indianapolis for another sub-.500 season.
But the Colts have made a quick recovery with hopes of surprising even more people along the way.
“It all started with the foundation that [coach] Chuck [Pagano] put in — trust, loyalty and respect. And then the bonding of the football team was [Pagano’s] illness. The guys rallied to make sure that they extended this season until he gets back. And then the snowball effect,” interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Monday.
“But when teams are really close and they have a purpose, you’ll see those type of locker rooms. Guys are always hanging together. They’ll be [at Colts headquarters] on days when they don’t have to. And that’s the great thing. That word chemistry? I think it’s overused some times. But this team obviously has a caring for each other.”
Pagano is slated to return to the sidelines in time for the Dec. 30 regular-season home finale with Houston. Depending on how his recovery from leukemia treatments continues to progress, he might be back sooner.
The coach stopped by his office Monday morning, just as he has done for most of the season during his absence from the sidelines.
He has attended most of the team’s home games, including the Colts’ 27-23 come-from-behind win over Tennessee, and watched from the press box.
“He looks great. He picked up some film and got his iPad re-charged and loaded up. He looked really good,” Arians said.
n Injury news — As of Monday afternoon, there were no updates on any of the Colts who left Sunday’s game with Tennessee due to injuries.
Running back Delone Carter (ankle), fullback Robert Hughes (knee), inside linebacker Kavell Conner (hamstring), offensive tackle Winston Justice (biceps) and center Samson Satele (ankle) were all sidelined and did not return.
Safety Tom Zbikowski (knee), running back Donald Brown (ankle) and offensive guard Joe Reitz (head) did not suit up for the Titans game.
“Really nothing new as far as injuries. We’re gathering all the information, some scans and stuff, but we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to make any announcements as far as who is in and who is out and where we’re heading,” Arians said.
n Reviewing the Tennessee win — After the win over the Titans, the Colts prepare for Sunday’s big divisional clash with Houston.
“I thought it was a great team win. I think it was a good wakeup call for us to learn that we can’t start slow like that and expect to beat anybody,” Arians said. “It’s going to be a big week for us and we’ll look forward to this challenge we’ve got coming up and learning from last week’s mistakes and getting them corrected and seeing what healthy bodies we have to go to Houston.”
n Getting off to a good start — The Colts have been slow starters for most of the season, which has helped to contribute in road losses to Chicago, New England and the New York Jets. Indianapolis can’t afford a repeat performance against the Texans this week.
“I thought when I watched us go out for warmups [prior to the Tennessee game], we were more than ready. Like I said, if you can ever figure that one out, we can get rich, when a team is ready and when they’re not,” Arians said.
“We just played flat [in the first half of the Titans game]. We picked up the emotion and the energy level at halftime and executed on all sides better and we were able to win the ballgame.”
Should the Colts earn their way into the postseason, they’ll be facing a quality team like Houston. The Indianapolis coaching staff would like to use this week as a sort of preview for what it takes to prepare for a playoff-quality opponent.
“It will be really good for us to learn how to prepare, stay within that moment of the process and then go and play a big game on the road that may or may not decide whether we play at home or on the road. [in the playoffs],” Arians said.
Can anyone explain how the Indianapolis Colts have managed to string together a 9-4 National Football League record this season?
Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.
Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold
With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.
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
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
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
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
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.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
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
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
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