That seems to be the best thing that the Indianapolis Colts can do right now after dropping their fifth straight National Football League game in a 28-24 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Indianapolis hasn’t lost five straight at the start of a season since 1997. That team wound up losing its first 10 before ending the year with a 3-13 mark.
The last time that a Colts team lost five straight at any point in a season was in 2001. Those losses came in the middle of the year and resulted in a 6-10 record.
If the Colts can’t find a way to scratch out a win at Cincinnati this week, the road ahead looks particularly daunting. Back-to-back road trips to face New Orleans and Tennessee follow the Bengals game.
“We got to stay together. We can’t point fingers, we got to stay together. We’re still fighting, that’s the good thing, no one is out there giving up,” safety Antoine Bethea said.
“Like I said, we just got to stay together, keep fighting, keep getting better, and eventually we’ll get a win.”
The loss to the Chiefs was a particularly tough one for the Colts to swallow. Indianapolis twice had double-digit leads in the first half and let the game slip away over the final two quarters.
“All losses are tough to swallow, but especially this one. Blowing a lead here at home, we’re most definitely trying to get over the hump and we blew this one,” Bethea said.
Injuries continue to chip away at Indianapolis as running back Joseph Addai and cornerback Jerraud Powers both left the Kansas City game with hamstring injuries.
It’s not immediately known if either Addai or Powers will be available to play against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
“It’s frustrating and, obviously, very disappointing. We just can’t finish, and that’s the real key. We have to be able to finish, and we haven’t been able to do so thus far,” coach Jim Caldwell said.
Quarterback Curtis Painter will remain in charge of the Colts offense for the foreseeable future. Painter has played well in his first two starts for Indianapolis over the previous two games.
“Curtis is our starter right now. He’s a guy that has done well and I think when you look at that performance he had [against Kansas City], I’m not certain why there’s a question at this point in time,” Caldwell said.
• Effort not the issue — The Colts coach doesn’t have an issue with the effort his team has put forth this season. Far from it.
“You look at the way in which they play, and that’s the key. Are we in every game? We are right in the thick of it. We just have to learn how to finish. We’ve got a lot of men of character, of good focus and integrity and those guys will fight you tooth and nail. We just have to get it to tip in our favor there at the end, which we haven’t been able to do,” Caldwell said.
“I haven’t been concerned about their effort, haven’t been concerned about their preparation and I don’t think you see any of those things in terms of how they play. If that were the case, then you’d see a lot of blowouts going the other direction, which does not happen.”
• Injury list — Addai hurt his right hamstring in the second quarter and Powers his left late in the fourth quarter. They were scheduled to undergo magnetic resonance imaging Monday.
Offensive guard Ryan Diem (ankle) hopes to return to practice this week after sitting out the last three weeks.
If he is able to return to the practice field, it’s not known as of yet whether he will play right guard or return to right tackle, where he started the last several seasons.
• Colts standing pat at cornerback for now — Despite Jacob Lacey struggling at left cornerback and Powers nursing a sore hamstring at right cornerback, there are no current plans to bring in another cornerback. Of course, those plans can change quickly.
“Until we are confirmed about what [Powers’] situation may be, then we certainly would not like to talk about it all at this point in time. Nevertheless, I think you well know that we have to take a real good look at our situation, and see if we have some guys,” Caldwell explained. “I think we have some young guys that are certainly capable of getting in there and playing, but it’s just a matter of experience. I do think there are some guys here that can play as well.”
Lacey’s status as a starter remains precarious. He was targeted time and again by Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
“Lace works at it. [He] has just had a real up-and-down go of it. There are sometimes where he makes some plays, and other times where he doesn’t. It’s not because of a lack of trying or anything of that nature, but he’s got to get better,” Caldwell said.
“The young guys [second year cornerbacks Terrence Johnson and Kevin Thomas as well as rookie Chris Rucker] have potential, and I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think those guys, with a few more reps, you’ll see them come along and practice well. I think that for the most part they may be in the same situation that Curtis [Painter] was in. They need reps, they need opportunities and they just have to get in there and play.”
• Roster move — The Colts have brought back veteran defensive tackle Dan Muir to the active roster and have waived offensive tackle Mike Tepper.
Muir played three seasons with Indianapolis (2008-2010) but was not re-signed this past spring. He subsequently signed with the St. Louis Rams but was waived.
Tepper, meanwhile, began the 2011 season on the Colts’ practice squad and was elevated to the active roster Oct. 3. He saw playing time against Tampa Bay two weeks ago.
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