The Colts ability to show their resiliency in not having back-to-back losses on the season is a major reason why they control their own destiny in making the playoffs. A fifth win following a loss is the goal this weekend and here is a closer look at the four previous times the Colts have achieved that feat this season:
Bouncing Back the First Time: Win over the Minnesota Vikings, 23-20.
The Setting: Week 2, September 16, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: In its home opener, the Colts held Vikings running back to a season-low of 60 rushing yards and a long rush of just six yards. The Colts jumped out a 20-6 third quarter lead but the Vikings came back and tied the score with 31 seconds remaining. Quarterback Andrew Luck orchestrated a final drive down to the Indianapolis 35-yard line before kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on a 53-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining. The 53-yard game-winning field goal was Vinatieri’s 24th of his 17-year career and the longest he has to give his team the victory.
Bouncing Back the Second Time: Win over the Green Bay Packers, 30-27.
The Setting: Week 5, October 7, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: A Week 3 home defeat to the Jaguars was followed by a bye week and the unfathomable news of head coach Chuck Pagano being diagnosed with leukemia. In playing for their sicken coach, the Colts turned in the highlight of the 2012 regular season with another final-minute comeback victory. Down 21-3 at halftime, the Colts sparked a spirited second-half charge led by the orange-clad gloves of wide receiver Reggie Wayne. With less than a minute remaining, Luck found Wayne for a four-yard, game-winning touchdown as the Pro Bowl wideout racked up 13 catches for 212 yards on the afternoon.
Bouncing Back the Third Time: Win over the Cleveland Browns, 17-13.
The Setting: Week 7, October 21, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: Following a 40-27 road loss to the New York Jets, the Colts returned home and began a four-game winning streak. Luck ran for two first-half touchdowns and the Colts held on to a 17-13 third quarter lead thanks to a strong defensive performance and an offense that had a 11-minute difference in time of possession. Indianapolis came into the game with a 2-3 record but the victory over the Browns would lead to seven wins over the next eight weeks for the Colts.
Bouncing Back the Fourth Time: Win over the Buffalo Bills, 20-13.
The Setting: Week 12, November 21, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: A month after following up a road loss to an AFC East team, the Colts were up to their old tricks again. Similar to the win over the Vikings, the Colts took at 20-6 third quarter lead but this time held on without any final-minute theatrics. Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton became the first Colts rookie to return a punt for a touchdown and record a receiving touchdown in the same game. Hilton’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first for a Colts player since T.J. Rushing’s 90-yarder in December of 2007.
Here are some player’s thoughts on why the Colts have been so resilient:
-Running Back Vick Ballard:
“Twenty-four hour rule. Win, lose or draw, you know that the last game is over with. You’ve got to look forward to the next week and we are going to come in Wednesday, get ready for Kansas City so we can hopefully give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs.”
-Safety Antoine Bethea:
“Regardless of whatever game we play, it’s a 24-hour rule. Win or loss, we’ve got to put it in the past and get ready for our next opponent. We’ve been doing a good job of that. Like I said, correcting the mistakes that we made in the previous game and just going out there and playing hard.”
-Outside Linebacker Dwight Freeney:
“We just realize it’s one week and whatever happened that one week, doesn’t matter for the next, whether we win or lose. You just learn from the mistakes in a win and in a loss and just move on to that next week and that is the most important game.”
-Quarterback Andrew Luck:
“I think guys want to come back and play, bounce back and atone for their mistakes. I think it’s sort of the DNA of the team and hopefully we can do that again this week. We realize it’s going to be tough against a team that is much better than their record indicates in a tough environment.”
-Defensive End Cory Redding:
“Never allow one loss to turn into two, period. You have to dig deep a little bit more to learn what you messed up on, work on it and challenge yourself to be better. If you made those mistakes a week before, don’t make them again. Don’t let one loss turn into two. We’ve come too far to reach this point to let it all go away, let it all be in vain. I won’t stand idly by and let that happen and I know my teammates won’t either. We’re going to come back this week and fight, watch tape, lift weights, run, eat right, do all we have to do to get in this game in Arrowhead and find a victory.”
-Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians:
“I think the biggest thing is the veteran leadership. Those guys bounce back, they know how to get the young guys off the 24-hour rule and come right back in and start working. We had really good meetings today, watched the tape, and this one will be out of our mouth by tonight and we’ll get started on Kansas City.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, bruce arians, Chcuk Pagano, cory redding, Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
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Cassius Vaughn’s interception return for a touchdown gave the Colts their first lead on Sunday afternoon but it was one offensive drive that got the comeback started, and another that gave Indianapolis the lead for good in earning its seventh victory in the last eight games.
Carter’s one-yard touchdown run
The scene: Down 20-7, the Colts take over following halftime at the 20-yard and a Rob Bironas touchback.
The anatomy of the drive: Fourteen plays, for 80 yards in 6:24. After converting just one-of-five third-downs in the first half, the Colts had three of them on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Key play: Reggie Wayne converted two third-downs on the drive but the third-and-11 at the Titans 38-yard line was truly spectacular. Wayne lined up to the right of Andrew Luck as a slot receiver. As Luck escaped pressure and rolled to his right he threw the ball up for Wayne and the 12-year veteran broke free from double coverage and hauled in his 28th third-down reception on the season.
The score: On a third-and-goal from the one-yard line, running back Delone Carter punched it in with offensive lineman Tony Hills in the game as a tackle eligible. The Colts had their three tight ends lined up on the left side of the line of scrimmage and Carter ran behind them for his second one-yard touchdown of the season against the Titans.
Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal
The scene: Down 23-21, the Colts take over following a Bironas 25-yard field-goal and a touchback, placing the ball at the Indianapolis 20-yard line.
The anatomy of the drive: 10 plays, for 45 yards in 4:05. The drive included the Colts overcoming a second-and-15 and a second-and-10 as Indianapolis converted three first downs in regaining the lead.
Key play: With the Colts facing a second-and-16 from their own 28-yard line, Luck went right back to wide receiver Donnie Avery. On the previous play, Avery couldn’t corral a high pass and took a hit from Titans cornerback Ryan Mouton. Avery got up slowly from the hit but on the next play he went high in the air again to gather an 18-yard reception and keep Indianapolis away from a third-and-15.
The score: Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal matched his season long and the 39-year old showed he still has plenty of distance left. The kicking game was terrific all afternoon and Vinatieri connected on both of his field goal attempts and is now seven-of-12 on the year from 40+ yards.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, Delone Carter, donnie avery, Reggie Wayne, Tony Hills
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What’s up Colts Nation? What a glorious day we have before us tomorrow! The Colts (8-4), yes the 8-4 Colts host the Titans in a divisional game where the horseshoe is looking for victory No. 9 and getting one step closer to the playoffs. I’m very excited for the game tomorrow and can’t wait to hear Lucas Oil Stadium rocking as always!
As far as football is concerned, I have a feeling the offense is going to perform very well this week. It’s the perfect setting for a good offensive game as Luck, Wayne and Co. have been rather impressive at home this year. I also think that T.Y. will continue to impress the league and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get his fifth 100+ receiving yard game of the season. My fantasy team hopes that as well J
I also look for the defensive front to get after Titans QB Jake Locker as their offensive line has endured some big injuries as of late. It’ll be beneficial for us to get them in third and long situations to allow Mathis, Freeney, and our stable of linebackers to get after the QB.
Now, onto the pre-game festivities as you all well know tailgating that is the only way to start a Colts game-day. There’s a busy day full of tailgating awaiting yours truly tomorrow.
Aside from my continued search for the best tailgate in Colts Nation, I am also going to be visiting the guys from Tailgate 32. These guys are living any football fan’s dream. They’re traveling to all 32 NFL stadiums this season in an RV and throwing their own tailgates at each stop. You MUST check these guys out! Not only their website and some of their webisodes, but their FREE, yes I said FREE tailgate tomorrow taking place in the Blue Crew lot. Full info is available here.
I know it’ll be cold tomorrow, but I should be hitting the lots around 10AM and I WILL be hungry! Think your tailgate has what it takes to win the “Tailgate of the Week” and be entered in the “Tailgate of the Year” promotion? Then let me know where to come this week on Twitter and Facebook.
So if you’re throwing a tailgate, let me know, and if you’re not, join the guys from Tailgate 32 at their tailgate and show them why Colts Nation is the best place in the entire NFL to tailgate. Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.
And as always, GO HORSE!
Yours in food, fandom, and football,
Tags: Andrew Luck, Colts, Colts Fan Casey, Colts Football, Food, football, NFL, Reggie Wayne, tailgate, Tailgate 32
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When Bruce Arians announced earlier this week six Colts captains for the rest of the regular season, some of the names could have gone without saying.
Luck, Wayne, Mathis….Lefeged.
Special teams ace Joe Lefeged was a bit caught off guard earlier in the week when a hoard of media surrounded his locker wanting to talk to the Colts safety who was named one of two special teams captains (Pat McAfee).
“It’s a big honor especially to be a captain of an organization like the Colts,” Lefeged said. “With this history they have of winning and the Hall of Fame players that have played here, it’s a big deal to me and I take it real serious.”
Lefeged’s 15 tackles on special teams this season ranks second in the NFL and he is quickly becoming one of the league’s top gunners.
Last week against he Lions, Lefeged was called upon to fill in for starting safety Tom Zbikowski to go along with his special teams duties.
After not recording a win away from home last season, Lefeged has been apart of three of them this year and knows the importance of earning victories in hostile environments.
“We know what we have to do when we go on the road,” Lefeged said. “We cannot give up plays on special teams. We have to play solid football for us to have a chance to win a game.”
After being an undrafted free agent in 2010, Lefeged has found a niche on the Colts special teams while providing depth at a safety position occupied by a pair of veterans.
Sitting in Lefeged’s locker is the shirt indicating Indianapolis being placed No. 32 on the preseason rankings and the Colts captain is ready to keep on proving the critics wrong
“Nobody except our families and the people in this organization thought that we were going to be where we are today,” Lefeged said.
“They picked us last. Coach Pagano that was his main focus. Nobody thought we were going to be good this year. Our job wasn’t to be good two, three years from now. We were going to reload and be ready to win this year. We are starting to see it come together and we have to win some games in December for us to have a chance at the playoffs.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, cory redding, Joe Lefeged, pat mcafee, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis, tom zbikowski
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With 88 catches and 1,156 receiving yards on the season, Reggie Wayne has been the focal point in the Colts passing attack all year long.
Wayne has had at least nine targets in 11 of 12 games this season, yet Andrew Luck’s 503 pass attempts has allowed the rookie quarterback to incorporate several targets at different positions throughout the season.
Behind Wayne is Donnie Avery (49 catches for 675 yards), who is putting career-high numbers in his fifth NFL season while providing numerous ‘chunk’ plays for the Indianapolis offense.
A pair of rookies rank third and fourth on the Colts receiving list this season with T.Y. Hilton among the league’s best rookies with 39 catches for 588 yards and five touchdowns.
Hilton admitted that he’s had a few rookie moments this season but his four 100-yard receiving games tells otherwise.
“It’s very important because we know Reggie is going to get double-teamed, triple-teamed,” Hilton said of his opportunities. “We know we are going to see looks that we haven’t seen before. For us to be in the right spot on timing, we’ve got to be perfect.”
Dwayne Allen has provided a versatile impact in the Colts offense with his 36 catches for 435 yards leading all rookie tight ends.
Allen pointed out two more rookies who made an impact in the win over the Lions that have also benefited from the attention that No. 87 gets on a weekly basis.
“Spreading the ball around it makes it hard on the defense,” Allen said. “You can’t always double-team Reggie or when you do it’s LaVon (Brazill) getting open deep for a touchdown or me catching one in the flats or catching a screen and taking it wherever, or (Coby) Fleener getting a one-on-one matchup.”
“Being able to spread that ball around is definitely what has this offense dangerous late in games because guys can’t double-team and shut down certain players.”
As the Colts head into the final quarter of the season, the depth at the receiver position is beginning to show and perhaps the most important point moving forward is you won’t hear anyone griping for the ball.
“The selflessness of this team, the receivers, that’s really the reason we are able to spread the ball around like we do because if you have one guy that’s harping about getting more balls or needing more touches than that can really bring an offense down but we don’t have guys like that in this offense,” Allen said.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, donnie avery, dwayne allen, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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Taking over at the Indianapolis 15-yard line with 4:02 remaining and down by 12 points, the Colts executed two efficient touchdown drives with a pair of timeouts in recording their seventh one-possession victory of the 2012 season.
Brazill’s 42-yard touchdown:
The scene: Down 33-21, the Colts take over following a Detroit punt at their own 15-yard line with 4:02 remaining.
The anatomy of the drive: Eight plays, for 85 yards in 1:23. The drive included quarterback Andrew Luck scrambling for eight yards on a fourth-and-two from the Indianapolis 23-yard line.
Key play: With the Colts facing a third-and-five at the Detroit 49-yard line with 3:12 to play, Luck found running back Vick Ballard for a seven-yard reception. The third down conversion was the first for the Colts in over three quarters and on the next play…
The score: Luck was flushed from the pocket and rolled to his left. As he felt the pressure from his backside, Luck flung the ball into the end zone and found rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill for the 42-yard touchdown. With the Lions defense focused on a corner pattern towards the sideline for Reggie Wayne, Brazill slipped past the secondary for his first career NFL touchdown.
Avery’s 14-yard touchdown:
The scene: Down 33-28, the Colts take over following a Detroit punt at their own 25-yard line with 1:07 left and no timeouts remaining.
The anatomy of the drive: 11 plays, for 75 yards in 1:07. The drive included Luck carrying the ball twice for 25 yards, including breaking two tackles on his initial rush of nine yards. Then later in the drive, Luck out ran Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the sideline for a 16-yard gain.
Key play: With the Colts facing a third-and-one at the Indianapolis 34-yard line with 52 seconds remaining, Reggie Wayne lined up in the middle of a trips set to the left. Wayne had a quiet afternoon by his standards, but he found a seam in between a trio of Lions defenders and Luck placed the ball perfectly over two of them into the outstretched arms of Wayne for a 26-yard gain into Lions territory.
The score: With a five wide receiver set, wide receiver Donnie Avery lined up furthest to the left as the Colts faced a fourth-and-10 with three seconds remaining from the Lions 14-yard line. On the snap, Luck rolled to his right and found Avery underneath at the 10-yard line. The speedster turned up field and beat the Lions defenders to the goal line for the Colts first game-winning touchdown as regulation expired since 1990.
Tags: Andrew Luck, donnie avery, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, vick ballard
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In a season that has been filled with records for Reggie Wayne, the Colts 12-year receiver can add another bullet point to his Hall of Fame resume this weekend.
With a touchdown against the Lions, Wayne will have scored a touchdown against every team in the NFC (Cleveland and the New York Jets remain the only teams in the AFC).
Wayne admitted prior to the season that learning a new offense has made him turn back the clock a bit and his production would indicate that. Now heading into Week 13 of the regular season, Wayne is feeling his age physically but mentally, it’s the players in the meeting room who are keeping him young.
“The days that I do feel a little weary, bones may hurt more than others, but when I get around those guys they get me going, keep me motivated,” Wayne said.
“That’s kind of been a plus for me this year, especially being in the receiver room where it’s me and everybody else is fairly new, and young other than Donnie Avery and Austin Collie. I love being around those guys. Hopefully we can keep this thing going.”
Those young Colts, sprinkled in with some very important veterans, has Indianapolis sitting at 7-4 with the final month of the regular season beginning this weekend.
From an age standpoint the receivers that Wayne shares the position with still remain young, but at this point of the year they have already experienced an entire college regular season.
“Those guys are professionals,” Wayne said of the rookie receivers. “They understand what it is to be in this league now. We don’t look at them as rookies any more. They are just guys that are all playing key roles in this offense.”
“They’ve adjusted to heavy note takers in the meetings. They pay attention to detail and they work at their craft. That’s all that you can ask them to do. The rest should take care of itself.”
It’s players like T.Y. Hilton and Lavon Brazill that keep the 34-yard old Wayne ‘motivated’ heading into the stretch run of the regular season.
That’s not the only thing that is motivating Wayne as the calendar turns to December.
Come Sunday, he knows he will have a coach, and more importantly a close friend, back in Indianapolis watching intently
“I talk to him all the time. I talk to him too much. My wife’s getting a little jealous,” Wayne said with a smile. He’s one of the biggest reasons why I’m here, why I came back.”
Tags: chuck pagano, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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Week-after-week Reggie Wayne continues to find himself moving up the ranks of the game’s greatest receivers.
Wayne 1,105 yards receiving this season marks the eighth time in his career he has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark.
He needs six receptions to pass Andre Reed (951) for the 10th most catches in NFL history.
With 84 catches and 1,105 receiving yards this year, Wayne is putting together one of his finest NFL seasons.
Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians implemented a new offense in the offseason and credits the dedication of Wayne to learn all the nuances of an innovative system for his production.
“He’s basically a rookie in this offense with all the things that we’re asking him to do,” Arians said. “I think it’s revitalized him and he’s excited about doing all those different things.”
Lining up at a variety of positions for the first time in over a decade, Wayne’s versatility is showing in his 12th NFL season.
“You can’t ask Reg to do too many different things because he’s gutting it out blocking. He’s doing cut off blocks, going backside, blocking defensive ends. He’ll do whatever we ask him to do,” Arians said. “He knows he’s going to get the football and we are going to put him in positions to get him the football.”
Arians said the young Colts offense has ‘taken him back about 10 years’ but the 34-year old Wayne has also made things enjoyable for the Indianapolis offensive coordinator.
Looking into the future, Arians is hoping to find himself in Canton, Ohio one day watching Wayne get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For now though, Arians is living in the present and he couldn’t be happier with how this team has grown up over the course of the season.
“We’ve got great veteran leadership and the young guys are doing everything they can to make sure Robert (Mathis), Dwight (Freeney) and Reggie, Cory (Redding) they all get into the playoffs again,” Arians said.
Tags: bruce arians, Reggie Wayne
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While the Colts rookie class has garnered a bulk of the attention this year on the offensive side of the ball for Indianapolis, it’s the veteran of the unit who is putting up career numbers in his 12th NFL season.
Reggie Wayne has provided a constant target for quarterback Andrew Luck with a reliable set of hands that seems to come up with the ball continually on third downs.
Wayne’s 69 catches leads the NFL and his 931 receiving yards is good for second in the league. As Wayne nears his 34th birthday, those numbers don’t come as a surprise to Bruce Arians.
“He works out and keeps himself in tremendous shape and I think he got rejuvenated in the fact that he basically is a rookie in this offense having come off the left side, being on the right side, being in the slot, being in motion, doing all the things that his abilities allow him to do because he’s so smart,” Arians said.
“I think he sees that can extend his career for a while and he’s in full tilt. It’s a pleasure to have a guy like that, with his work ethic and his brains on your football team be your leader.”
While several key cogs on the Colts offense moved on following the 2011 regular season, Wayne re-signed with the team that drafted him back in 2001.
Learning a new offense scheme and creating a rapport with a rookie quarterback was going to be needed the offseason.
Even with Luck missing part of OTAs due to finishing up his degree at Stanford, Wayne made sure the two got the necessarily work in prior to training camp including a trip down to the University of Miami.
“I think they stayed in such constant communication from when they were allowed to talk and then the time they spent in Florida and all the days up here in the summer,” Arians said.
“It’s not like he’s sitting on that left side and you just throw balls to him like you used to and you get the route tree now. He’s got 50 or 60 different alignments and different routes. I think (the success) is a credit to both of them, how much hard work they’ve put in on and off the field.”
For good reason, Luck has found himself targeting No. 87 more than any other player during the first nine games this season.
With so many fellow rookies at the skill positions surrounding Luck, his relationship with Wayne has been vital to the offense’s success.
“He’s been awesome to be around, so that’s been great for me,” Luck said. “You hear a big name like Reggie and think he going to be like standoffish or look down on you, which hasn’t been the case at all. I don’t know if I’ve been surprised but it’s been really nice getting to know him and being in the same locker room with him.”
When Arians took the reigns as offensive coordinator he had a hunch of who is quarterback would be and he also had a strong feeling that a Pro Bowl receiver would be returning to the fold.
“I wasn’t (surprised) because he’s a Colt and he wanted to be a Colt bad,” Arians said of Wayne’s free agency. “He’s a legend here and he’s going to go into the Hall of Fame.”
“He always wanted to be here and as soon as Chuck (Pagano) made that call, it was just a matter of, ‘Yeah I’m coming.’ He knew what he was getting into and I think he’s excited more than anybody with the change. He’s jumped in and he’s really excited about it. You can’t put a quantified value on how much his leadership means to our team.
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, Reggie Wayne
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In support of head coach Chuck Pagano, over 25 Colts players and several staff members took to the barber chair on Tuesday evening to shave their heads.
A trio of local barbers visited the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Tuesday to help the players show off their new look.
“It’s all for a good cause,” running back Donald Brown said. “It’s to show support for our coach and let him know that we are behind him and we are pulling for him. We are always thinking about him.”
The idea was spear headed by veterans Cory Redding, Reggie Wayne and Adam Vinatieri.
While Redding and Wayne hardly had much to cut off, safety Antoine Bethea, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (pictured), quarterback Andrew Luck and punter Pat McAfee were among the many players who got rid of their ‘locks.’
As the players wrapped up practice on Tuesday and headed back into the facility, they noticed the barbershop chairs just outside the locker room and little coaxing was needed for why they were getting in the chair.
“Even the guys with longer hair we’re excited because it’s for Coach,” Brown said.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, anthony castonzo, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, cory redding, donald brown, pat mcafee, Reggie Wayne
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