News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 9, 2012

No looking back for Colts as Jets loom ahead

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Turning the page. That’s the Indianapolis Colts’ mantra heading into Sunday’s road game with the New York Jets.

While Indianapolis came out with a 30-27 win during an emotion-filled game with the Green Bay Packers, the 24-hour rule remains in effect.

Come today, no more celebrating. It’s time to move on and begin preparations for a Jets team that has become something of an enigma this season. New York has struggled to get its offense untracked this season. But defensively, the Jets are as good as they’ve been in recent years.

Indianapolis, meanwhile, lost its only other road game five weeks ago, dropping a 41-21 decision to Chicago. The Colts will take a 2-2 record into the matchup with the Jets.

“We’ve only had the one game on the road in Chicago when we did not play as well as we’re capable,” interim coach Bruce Arians said Monday afternoon. “So it’s going to be interesting to get back on the road and see how we play.”

The Colts hope that they may have found something special in the second half of the Packers game that they can continue to build on as the season progresses.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt the last 30 minutes is the standard that we set for ourselves now. We played smarter, we played faster, we played up to our ability. Now we have to maintain that. I told the guys this car cannot have a rear-view mirror. We can’t ever look back at this moment and pat ourselves on the back or we’ll get our butts kicked by the Jets,” Arians said.

“It’s business as usual, 24-hour rule. The game is over. [Players] have until [Monday night]. It’s over for the coaches. We’re already on to New York. That’s all our focus at this point in time and it has to be. We’ve set a nice standard of 30 minutes of football. We dug a deep enough hole with the first 30 minutes that we were fortunate to get out of it with a victory. We learn our lesson and go on.”

• Impressed by Luck — Arians has seen his share of young and talented quarterbacks in the National Football League. He’s worked with Peyton Manning, Tim Couch and Ben Roethlisberger with the Colts, Browns and Steelers.

But what he saw in Sunday’s win over Green Bay — rookie quarterback Andrew Luck completing 31 of 55 passes for 362 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception — just made him shake his head.

A couple of plays in particular stood out. One came on the eventual game-winning drive when Luck survived a near-sack by Packers linebacker Clay Mathews, shaking him off and stepping up into the pocket to complete an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Reggie Wayne for a crucial first down.

“I’ve been around one guy who I’ve ever seen do that and that was Ben down in Jacksonville … [Luck] threw a guy off who was still hanging onto him and he completed a third-and-12 18-yard pass right on the money,” Arians recalled. “Not only did he shake him off, he had great ball security in the situation and put it right on the money, and Reggie made a great play. But that was big league play.”

Then there was Luck’s 7-yard scramble for a first down that set up his game-winning touchdown pass to Wayne.

“He saw the coverage. They had doubled both guys outside. The middle basically opened up for him and he stuck his head down and went. I don’t think we would have had a completion. They had us doubled up pretty good. He had a heck of a play,” Arians said. “It’s a split-second decision: ’I’m going.’ He knew what he had to get and did it.”

But the assistant coach said the Luck’s best play may have occurred much earlier in the game.

“The biggest play Andrew made in the game, he got hit, the ball came out, he went flying across the field, dove, and knocked it out of bounds or they would have had it right there on the 35 or 40. That was the biggest play of the game for him I thought,” Arians said.

“It shows his grit and his determination. He was not letting them get that ball. He got plastered. He should have been on the ground, but he knew it was out and he went and got it. I thought that was the best play, the turning point, because we wouldn’t have recovered from that.”

• Ahead of Manning? The Colts began Sunday’s game by running a full no-huddle offense. Indianapolis stayed up-tempo for most of the day, which came as something as a surprise given Luck’s relative inexperience in the league.

Arians, though, thought the rookie could handle it. Interestingly, the no-huddle offense wasn’t utilized until Peyton Manning’s second year with the Colts.

“We didn’t attempt no-huddle [Manning’s] first year. We did a lot of check-with-mes, and gave him two or three options. But not at the line,” he remembered.

“It’s something [Luck’s] been wanting to do. I felt the rest of the guys were more than capable now. We practiced it for four or five weeks. It was time to try it. Rather than try to slowly get him down, we wanted to get more snaps. You know, knock on wood, it worked.”

Indianapolis ran more than 90 total plays in the Green Bay game.

“We had the ball for 35 minutes and 100 plays. Never dreamed that we would have that many snaps in the game. I think it was actually 90-something without the penalties,” Arians said.

“We want to be able to play up-tempo and spread the field. I thought it really helped the running attack before the third quarter. We left a few yards out there on run and pass. But it was something that, looking back, was a decent decision.”

• Roster moves — The Colts waived tight end Dominique Jones from the active roster and placed offensive guard Seth Olsen on injured reserve.

Olsen, who has started for injured offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee) since the start of the season, missed practice last week and did not play against the Packers due to a knee injury. He has been designated to return to the active roster after six weeks.

Wide receiver Kris Adams, who was waived from the active roster on Saturday, has been signed to the team’s practice squad. Outside linebacker Mario Addison was lost off the practice squad Monday as he was signed by Baltimore.