News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 4, 2012

Despite strong play, Colts aren’t thinking playoffs — yet

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — The same focus that has gotten the Indianapolis Colts to its current position — 8-4 overall and in the driver’s seat for one of two AFC wild-card playoff berths — was in evidence Monday as interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians reviewed the team’s 35-33 come-from-behind win over Detroit.

“Great team win. I thought we overcame some poor play by our young receivers during the ball game. But they overcame it and settled down and made plays at the end when we had to have it,” Arians said.

“But throughout the game it was probably the worst execution we’ve had from our young receivers in about a month as far as where they are supposed to be in reception areas and crossing defender’s faces.

Technical things that we can get corrected. But it was a great effort by everybody. Big plays coming down the stretch were huge.”

The Colts assistant coach also took a hit as he was bowled over on the sidelines during an interception return by Detroit.

“Just a little stiff. But I’m okay. I can take their best shot,” Arians joked.

Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck had three passes picked off on the day, the results of poor technique on both ends rather than bad reads.

“Almost always mechanical. One was not his fault. He was right on target but our receiver went behind the defender instead of in front of him. It’s a cardinal rule you never go behind a guy on that route. You always cross his face. [Luck] trusted [the receiver] to cross his face and the guy picked it,” Arians explained.

“The defender baited both of them into it, basically, and they fell for it. But those things are going to happen. Sometimes you live and die by the big play. This time we lived.”

After getting Monday and Tuesday off, the Colts will re-assemble Wednesday to begin preparations for this week’s home game with AFC South rival Tennessee.

“Again, a big, big division game. [Running back] Chris Johnson, you always start right there stopping him. We did not do a good job of protecting the quarterback down there. I think [left offensive tackle] Anthony Castonzo is playing a lot better right now. It’s probably as good as I’ve had [an offensive] tackle play in a long time. He’ll draw a tough assignment in Kamerion Wimbley,” Arians said.

“It’s the same thing. We’ve got to run the football and make our chunk plays. I think the key right now is we are playing so much better on special teams. But Tennessee is going to come in and we are going to get their best shot. We know that. A divisional game, rivalry type of game and we are going to need a great crowd. Another playoff game atmosphere and we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Playoffs? — No need to think about the post-season just yet. Or any potential individual awards that may be coming Indianapolis’ way at some point in the offseason.

“Whenever they tell us where we are going, then [we can] start breaking down the film,” Arians said in response to a question about when would be the best time to start thinking about the playoffs.

“There’s way too much [time]. There’s some really good football teams behind us and we just have to take care of our own business and we will worry about all that [later] because a lot of the teams will play each other in these last few weeks. There’s plenty of time to worry about it.”

The same goes for worrying about any post-season awards, such as Rookie of the Year or Coach of the Year.

“I don’t think it’s the time of year to talk about accolades yet. I think you add those up at the end. There’s enough credit, if you keep winning, there’s enough credit to go around for everybody — Pro Bowls, MVPs, Rookie of the Year — all of that stuff. There’s a time and place for that. Right now, we just got to beat Tennessee,” Arians said.

Injury list — Safety Tom Zbikowski (knee) did not make the trip to Detroit. Offensive guard Joe Reitz (concussion), offensive tackle Winston Justice (concussion), running back Donald Brown (ankle) and outside linebacker Justin Hickman (hamstring) were all injured in the Detroit game and did not return.

“Not much news as far as injury notes. We’re still evaluating everybody as they come in today. We’ll have more news on the injury front on Wednesday,” Arians said.

Justice was hurt as he tried to make a tackle after a Luck interception. He blocked on the play. What happened once the play was blown dead drew the ire of several Colts players, including offensive guard Mike McGlynn.

McGlynn said that several Detroit players, including defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, were celebrating Suh’s hit on Justice.

“It was a block on an interception. I don’t think it was the block as much as it was the celebration for knocking him out,” Arians said. “[The hit] is not on film. But I know that’s why Mike took issue. A bunch of the guys on the sideline saw it and I don’t really have anything to say about it.”