News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 16, 2013

Colts seeking to close deal on offense

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — For the Indianapolis Colts’ offense through the first two weeks of the season, it’s been a tale of two halves.

The Colts have prospered moving the football in the first and second quarters in games with Oakland (a 21-17 win) and Miami (a 24-20 loss), scoring 31 of their combined 41 points and combining for 471 of their 822 offensive yards.

In both games, opposing defenses have been able to limit the number of times that Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has been able to find receivers Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton on a regular basis over the final two quarters.

The Colts have also put themselves in bad positions through penalties or not coming up with big plays when given the opportunity.

So what’s the deal?

Luck thinks it’s more about what the Colts aren’t doing well as compared to what opposing defenses are coming up with.

“I think we just need a little more focus. I realize it’s a long ballgame. We’ve got great veterans in the locker room and I think we’ve got great football players,” Luck said.

“We realize we can’t survive on mistakes every week. We can’t make as many mistakes, especially in the second half. Maybe that is a little bit of a lack of focus or whatever it is. But it’s something we’ll focus on and hopefully improve upon.”

One thing is certain. Close, down-to-the-wire games have become the norm through the first two weeks of the National Football League season.

Because of that, even the most minor of mistakes will be magnified.

“You can’t [make crucial mistakes]. In my short timeframe in this league, you realize that everybody’s good. There are freak players on both sides of the ball. There are great coaches all over the place. And you’ve really got to limit your mistakes,” the Colts’ second-year quarterback said.

“Oftentimes it does come down to who’s made less mistakes. And they will come back to bite you in the rear as they did last weekend to us.”

n Forget it and move on — That’s what the Colts are going to attempt to do heading into this week’s road game at San Francisco.

“We had our chances to win. Looking at the tape, you look for positives,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “We pointed [the positives] out [to the team]. We made the corrections and tried to emphasize in all areas the mistakes being made and the corrections we’ve made. We can’t have repeat offenders.”

San Francisco has the same feeling. The 49ers dropped a 29-3 road decision to NFC West rival Seattle on Sunday night.

“Yeah, I think both facilities will be similar in their approach this week. Anytime you lose, it’s never fun. We talk about that 24-hour rule all the time when you win. But it doesn’t apply when you lose, for some reason. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t apply,” Pagano said.

“You come in after a win and you look at the tape and hey, 24 hours and on to the next one. [After a loss] everybody is miserable until you get to tee it up again the following Sunday and hopefully get a win and get that sour taste out of your mouth. They’re coming off a tough loss. We’re coming off a tough loss. I think the mindsets will probably be very similar.”

• Tough call — Pagano tried to explain the penalty called on the Colts prior to an apparent third-quarter Luck touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener.

Indianapolis was flagged for an illegal shift on the play, nullifying the score. Game officials said that wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who had gone in motion, had not set himself for a second before the snap of the ball.

“It’s actually when you break the huddle and you get in your initial alignment, all 11 players, before you do anything else, all 11 players have to be set for one second,” he said.

Did the Colts coach agree with the call? He wouldn’t say.

“That’s what [the game officials] said,” Pagano concluded.

• Injury list — Offensive guard Donald Thomas (torn quad tendon) will miss the remainder of the season after he was hurt in the first quarter of the Miami game. He is scheduled to undergo surgery sometime this week. Thomas will be placed on the Colts’ injured reserve list.

“He’ll have surgery in the next couple days and be placed on IR. Feel sick about it. He’s in good spirits and he’s a veteran and he’s a pro and he’ll know how to get himself rehabbed and get through it and be back better than ever next year,” Pagano said.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder/back/ribs) is expected to return to practice this week. He was hurt after falling awkwardly while attempting to catch a pass against the Dolphins on Sunday. Heyward-Bey underwent an magnetic resonance imaging test after the game.

“MRI was negative. So he should be ready to go by Wednesday. If not then, Thursday. That’s good news,” the Colts coach said.

The injury was initially announced as a rib issue. Pagano later talked about Heyward-Bey’s shoulder.

“I think it’s his whole backside, the way he landed. He’s got a little bit of everything back there. Again, the MRI was negative. It’s a little bit of shoulder, little bit of rib, little bit of back,” he explained.

Tight end Dwayne Allen (hip), meanwhile, will still be listed as day-to-day heading into this week’s road game with San Francisco. Allen was hurt early in the season-opening win at Oakland and did not play in the loss to the Dolphins.

• Roster move — Running back Miguel Maysonet was signed to the Colts practice squad Monday.

Maysonet (5-10, 210) was originally signed by Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent on April 29 and was waived on May 20. He was then signed by the Cleveland Browns. Maysonet was waived on Aug. 30.

With Thomas going down with his injury, look for Indianapolis to add another offensive lineman to either the active roster or the practice squad today.

“Yeah, it’ll be position-for-position basically. We’ve got nine guys with Link [offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach] and Khaled Holmes sitting there,” Pagano said.

“As you know, the roster is fluid and it’s ever-changing because of injuries and what not. We have options there. We haven’t really discussed moving forward what we’re going to do at this time.”