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.
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?
Heavy snow appears in forecast for Colts
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions. But if weather forecasts for this weekend remain on track, Sunday’s AFC battle between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals may be severely tested by the weather.
Seizing the moment: Colts’ running back Brown comes through at end in first start of season
Donald Brown has bided his time this season as the Indianapolis Colts elevated Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson to the team’s No. 1 running back position.
An Ugly ‘W’ for Indy
Yes, it was an ugly game to watch.
Luck’s analysis: ‘Great job’ by defense and Vinatieri; ‘terrible job’ by offense and ‘by me’ — but he’ll take a win
Nobody had to tell the Indianapolis Colts that Sunday’s performance against the Tennessee Titans was far from perfect.
Colts looking for execution to climb out of funk
While the Indianapolis Colts are in a bit of a funk right now, losing two of their last four games by a combined score of 78-9 (38-8 to St. Louis, 40-11 last week at Arizona), don’t expect the team’s offensive and defensive coaching staffs to make changes, whether it’s scheme or personnel.
Colts seek to right ship against Titans
Another home game, another meeting with the Tennessee Titans. The Indianapolis Colts, fresh off last week’s 40-11 road loss to Arizona, know what’s at stake against the Titans on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Colts ready to go back to work
If anybody expected Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano to start spewing fire to his players in the wake of Sunday’s 40-11 National Football League loss at Arizona, they would be largely disappointed.
For second straight game, Colts fail early and often in big loss
The Indianapolis Colts had 10 days off before facing the Arizona Cardinals.
It didn’t seem to do much good.
Struggling on both sides of the ball, the Colts put together a lackluster effort in the desert, leading to a 40-11 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.
Arians faces his old team
The early pregame warmups that NFL teams go through are usually pretty routine.
Players and coaches usually spent the time loosening up, touching base with old friends who are with the other team. A few minutes chatting up an old buddy or college teammate and then its back to the matter of hand.
Arians latest to join Colts’ reunion tour
The 2013 NFL season has turned into a reunion tour, of sorts, for the Indianapolis Colts.
Colts’ Walden to appeal one-game suspension
Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden will be suspended for Sunday’s National Football League road game at Arizona, the NFL announced Monday.
Colts rally from 14-down, beat Titans 30-27
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts keep digging themselves into early holes — and proving they know how to come back and win.
5 things to know as Colts rally, beat Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts know they have to stop falling behind early. It’s just a hard habit to break when they keep rallying for victories.
Colts looking for big-play receiver
When the Indianapolis Colts signed rookie wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers to the active roster Monday after a stint on the practice squad, it was just another indication that team officials aren’t completely happy with the way the Colts’ receiving corps has played over the last two weeks.
Colts looking to shift running game out of neutral
After getting off to a pretty good start running the football this season, the Indianapolis Colts find themselves stuck in neutral.
Indianapolis has had difficulty coming up with a consistent running attack over its last two games. That fact was never more in evidence that in last Sunday’s 38-8 National Football League loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Colts need to forget embarrassing loss, prepare for next game
Former Indiana State men’s basketball coach Tates Locke had a slogan that he liked to use when it came to putting bad games or bad performances on the back burner.
It’s safe to say that the Indianapolis Colts have been living on the National Football League edge for most of the past two years.
‘Can’t keep digging ourselves a hole’ — Pagano
Chuck Pagano Is usually a pretty even-tempered guy.
Colts back home, hoping to keep momentum going
The goal for the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s NFL home game with the St. Louis Rams is relatively simple. Just keep getting better.
Colts work magic again, find way to win
Good teams find a way to win. Bad or struggling teams usually find a way to lose. That’s as much of a reason — along with the play of quarterback Andrew Luck — as how the Indianapolis Colts staged their 10th fourth-quarter come-from-behind win over the past two seasons Sunday night in Houston.
Colts dodge Texans’ bullets
The Indianapolis Colts rallied for a 27-24 victory over the Texans on Sunday night after Houston coach Gary Kubiak collapsed leaving the field at halftime and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Colts: Road to division title leads through Houston
Never mind that the Houston Texans will come into Sunday night’s nationally televised game with the Indianapolis Colts with a 2-5 record. For Colts coach Chuck Pagano and his players, the Texans are the defending AFC South champions. In fact, Houston has won the division title the last two seasons. Enough said.
Back in stride: After bye week, Luck says Colts must overlook Texans’ 2-5 record
Vacation, in terms of a one-week bye, is now over. It’s back to work for the Indianapolis Colts, who will go into Sunday night’s nationally televised National Football League game (NBC, 8:30 p.m. kickoff) against defending AFC South champion Houston with a 5-2 record and a two-game lead in the division.
After big win over Broncos, Colts learn that standout receiver Wayne is out for season with knee injury
Chuck Pagano, like most head coaches in the National Football League, has become more or less accustomed to players getting hurt and having to miss significant time during a season. Unfortunately, that’s just part of the game. But the news Monday that wide receiver Reggie Wayne has been lost to a season-ending knee injury hit a little closer to home for Pagano for purely personal reasons.
Colts vs. Manning: Competing allegiances
Blue or Orange?
That was the question many fans grappled with as former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning returned to Lucas Oil Stadium — “the house that he built” — Sunday night for the Colts-Broncos football game.
Colts knock Broncos from unbeaten perch
Everybody expected a barnburner when the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos hooked up in National Football League play on national television Sunday night.
- More Colts Headlines
- Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans