The Indianapolis Colts may be 0-13 for the season, but the team keeps battling.
Two weeks ago, the Colts dropped a 31-24 road game to AFC East leader New England. On Sunday, Indianapolis battled to the end but came up on the losing side of a 24-10 decision to AFC North leader Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens’ defense proved to be just too much for Indianapolis to overcome, especially after the Colts — as they have done throughout this season — got off to a slow start offensively.
Baltimore’s defense set the tone early against an inconsistent Indianapolis offensive attack that saw quarterback Dan Orlovsky consistently harassed.
But there just might be some light at the end of a very long and frustrating 2011 season.
The Colts will wrap up the year with back-to-back home games with Tennessee (Sunday, 1 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium) and Houston — on a Thursday night, Dec. 22 — before ending the year at Jacksonville on Jan. 1.
The final three games will be against AFC South rivals, giving coach Jim Caldwell’s team additional extra motivation. The Colts will have matchups with the Titans and Texans over an 11-day period.
“It’s tough. As a professional, to do what you do and to be winless right now, it’s tough,” tight end Jacob Tamme admitted after the Ravens game. “But we have three more [games] left and we’re going to go into [this] week trying to get better and come in with a good plan, try to execute it. But it’s tough. It stinks.”
Reasons for the Colts’ rough season are many. Losing the services of quarterback Peyton Manning to preseason neck fusion surgery certainly tops the list.
But also injuries to several defensive starters, such as middle linebacker Gary Brackett (shoulder), safety Melvin Bullitt (shoulder) and cornerback Jerraud Powers (elbow) have been crucial as well.
Manning (offense), Brackett (defense) and Bullitt (special teams) have been unit captains for the past several seasons.
“Regardless of what the records are, we want to win those [AFC South] games,” Caldwell said. “We’ve got to take them one at a time. It’s a competitive situation, obviously.
“We’re going to go after this next [game] as hard as we possible can and see if we can get a victory.”
And just how do the Colts go about doing that?
“We’ve got to find a way to be more consistent,” the Indianapolis coach said. “That’s one of the things we did a little bit better [against the Patriots] as opposed [to the Baltimore game]. We’ll look at the problems to see what we need to get straightened out and get back to work.”
• Facing the Titans Sunday — Familiarity won’t be an issue for the Colts as they close out the 2011 season.
“We’re coming up on a stretch where we have three of our division opponents in a row, and certainly we do know something about their personnel,” Caldwell previewed. “But there are some guys that we don’t know much about. Certainly we don’t know much about [Titans rookie quarterback Jake] Locker. We’ve seen him run around and play, but this will be an opportunity for us to get a little bit closer look at him.”
Locker has seen increased playing time in recent weeks due to injuries surrounding veteran starter Matt Hasselbeck. He is expected to start against the Colts on Sunday.
“I know he’s a very fine player and he runs extremely well,” Caldwell said. “There is some benefit to having played them once, but between the times that we’ve played one another, some things change in terms of personnel.”
• No decision on Caldwell — The fate of the Colts’ coach is not up for discussion, according to vice-chairman Bill Polian. Not now anyway.
“My fervent hope is that Jim’s job is not in jeopardy because my fervent hope is that we don’t go 0-16. And we’re doing everything we can to try and avoid that,” Polian said during his weekly Monday night radio show.
• Wheeler update — There won’t be an update on the status of strongside linebacker Philip Wheeler, who suffered an ankle/foot injury against Baltimore, until later in the week.
“[There is] nothing solidified as of yet,” Caldwell said. “He’s being evaluated and getting all of the exams that he needs, so we’ll have an idea shortly.”
Yet many obstacles are still in Colts’ path
The Indianapolis Colts may be 0-13 for the season, but the team keeps battling.
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.
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?
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold