News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Pro Sports

October 18, 2011

Answers to Colts’ continuing woes don’t come easily

INDIANAPOLIS — When you start the season with an 0-6 record, everybody tries to find the right answers when it comes to trying to figure out what’s gone wrong.

Sometimes, players perhaps try too hard to make plays. When that occurs, mistakes happen.

The Indianapolis Colts got a dose of that Sunday when tight end Dallas Clark fumbled after his first catch of the day against Cincinnati. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon also couldn’t hang on after his final reception of the Bengals game.

Cincinnati recovered both the fumbles and the mistakes were turned into Bengals touchdowns, the first and last of the day in a 27-17 National Football League victory.

Throw in a mishandled hold on a potential game-tying 52-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter by Adam Vinatieri. His kick wound up being partially blocked.

Indianapolis lost by 10, the team’s fifth loss this season by 10 or fewer points.

“Trying to make a play, just fighting for extra yards,” Garcon lamented afterward. “Having it come down to that play [with little more than two minutes remaining in the game] and losing another game, it’s very frustrating.”

Coach Jim Caldwell has preached finishing games. The Colts still haven’t found the answers six weeks into the season.

“The guys do a good job in terms of preparation. They do a great job of working to great ready. I don’t think you’ll ever see that cease,” Caldwell said. “The key is that we have to win. That’s what we’re measured by. And that’s what we’ve got to get ourselves in position to do and then finish it.”

That’s been the fly in the ointment for the Colts during this six-game losing streak, with the exception of the season-opening defeat at Houston.

Indianapolis has played well enough, at times, in each of the other five games to register a victory. But it hasn’t happened.

With quarterback Curtis Painter running the offense, the Colts have shown improvement since the start of the season. And the defense, despite the absence of starters Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, has had its moments.

But playing a complete game as a team hasn’t happened yet.

“All of our games have been tight games. They’re going to be tight. We’re right there,” Caldwell said. “So it’s a very little things that have been making the difference. When you get in these tight games, everything is magnified.”

Effort is not the problem the Colts. Execution in key moments, though, has been lacking. And that’s why Indianapolis is still searching for its first win of the season.

“I hurt [for the players]. They practice so hard and prepare hard. It’s just the little things. When you have three turnovers [as in the loss to the Bengals], you’re not going to win in situations like that. When you’re away from home, they’re very, very tough to overcome,” the Colts coach said.

• Injury list — Linebacker A.J. Edds left the Bengals game in the third quarter after a hard hit by Cincinnati’s Cedric Peerman on a punt return.

Edds did not return after he was taken to the Colts’ locker room for further evaluation.

“We’ll get a sense of [his availability for Sunday night’s game at New Orleans] maybe in another day or so. I think it’s going to be OK though,” Caldwell said.

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