NFL Wire News

Colts must rebound quickly to be viable


INDIANAPOLIS — In the aftermath of a lopsided loss like the one the Indianapolis Colts suffered Sunday at Dallas, head coach Chuck Pagano wanted to offer some words of encouragement to his team.

But it wasn’t easy.

“Very, very disappointed, obviously,” Pagano began. “Not discouraged but disappointed. We prepared. We practiced and we came to try to win a football game. That’s what we do each and every single week.

“We knew what was at stake, not only for us but what was at stake for them. They clearly outplayed us in all three phases.”

Pagano tried to find a few bright spots in the 42-7 loss. Again, it wasn’t easy.

“We couldn’t get anything generated offensively in the first half, a bunch of three-and-outs and, defensively, we couldn’t slow them down,” he offered.

“We didn’t match up well inside with the tight end. We didn’t match up well on the outside. They played at a different speed than we played at.”

So how does a team rebound from such a one-sided loss and performance?

“We’ll take a look at this — obviously, we have to get over this in a hurry. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Pagano said.

“We’ve got some guys banged up but we make no excuses. We’re all accountable and we’ve got to get over this one in a hurry.”

While Indianapolis is currently 10-5 for the season, the team has not played well against some of the NFL’s better teams.

The Colts have lost to Denver, Pittsburgh, New England and Dallas, the last three in rather convincing fashion.

“Disappointed, yeah. Discouraged, no. There’s a lot of football to be played. We’ve got a bunch of grown men in that locker room. We’ve got great veteran leadership and we’ll find a way to get these things fixed,” the Indianapolis coach said.

“We obviously know we can’t play the way we played [against the Cowboys] and expect to do anything down the road. [But] we never get discouraged. It’s the National Football League. It’s a tough-ass business and it’s not for everybody and so that’s why we don’t get discouraged. Disappointed, yeah, but discouraged? Never.”

With 235 gross passing yards against the Cowboys, the Colts set a franchise record for the most gross passing yards in a single season in franchise history (4,747). The old record, 4,732, was set during the 2004 season.

Notes: Tight end Dwayne Allen (knee) was hurt in the game, did not return and was due for MRI Monday. … Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) was injured and is due for an MRI.


–PASSING OFFENSE: D — Colts QB Andrew Luck has not played consistently for the past three weeks. Luck completed 15 of 22 passes for 109 yards, was intercepted twice and ended the day with a passer rating of 41.7 before being pulled once the game got out of hand. Backup QB Matt Hasselbeck completed 15-for-21 passes for 126 yards and a TD pass to rookie RB Zurlon Tipton. WR Hakeem Nicks hauled in nine passes for 72 yards.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: F — 1 yard rushing as a team. That’s tells the whole story. RB Daniel “Boom” Herron got the start and had 3 yards rushing in seven attempts. RB Trent Richardson had 1 yard in two carries. Rookie Zurlon Tipton also played but had a minus-3 yards rushing. The Colts averaged 0.1 yard rushing as a team. One caveat: Indianapolis fell behind so quickly that the running game was pretty much discarded.

–PASS DEFENSE: D — Dallas QB Tony Romo completed 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards and four TDs as he had complete control of the Cowboys offense. Indianapolis’ defense against quality tight ends again showed its weakness as Jason Witten caught seven passes for 90 yards and a TD. WR Dez Bryant had five receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. WR Terrance Williams added two catches for 52 yards and a pair of TDs. ER Cole Beasley had two receptions for 29 yards and a TD. Romo had a 151.7 passer rating against the Colts. Enough said.

–RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus — The Cowboys had so much success with their passing game, they didn’t have to utilize their running attack quite as much as they usually have this season. RB DeMarco Murray had 58 yards rushing and a TD. RB Joseph Randle added 37 yards in 13 carries.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus — PK Adam Vinatieri did not attempt a field goal for the Colts. P Pat McAfee averaged 36.6 yards net and 46.4 yards overall on five punts, including a kick of 61 yards. McAfee also had one punt downed inside the Dallas 20-yard line. He was 0-for-1 as a passer when his fake punt throw to rookie S Dewey McDonald was dropped. McDonald was wide open on the play. The pass was attempted from the Colts’ own 19-yard line with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Dallas scored its second TD of the day one play later

–COACHING: D. — A week after clinching the AFC South title, Indianapolis played poorly. Head-scratching decisions on offense early in the game. The Colts coaches had talked about wanting to be aggressive offensively early in the game. But the first three plays were runs into the line for little yardage. And then the fake punt from the Colts’ own 19-yard line. Defensively, Indianapolis still can’t cover a quality tight end. It’s been an issue since the preseason must be fixed, otherwise, it’s going to be a third straight short stint in the post-season.

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