NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - INSIDE SLANT
Play better. Fix the mistakes.
Those are the top items on the agenda of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano following his team's 19-9 Monday night loss at San Diego.
Never mind that the 4-2 Colts will be facing one of the National Football League's two undefeated teams - the 6-0 Denver Broncos - as well as welcoming former Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning back to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night.
"I haven't even thought one iota about (the Denver game) yet," a subdued Pagano said after the Chargers game. "We've got to get healthy. We've got to look at this (game) tape and fix what we need to fix and get some guys back and start focusing on that."
Wide receiving Reggie Wayne, for one, wasn't pleased with the Colts' performance in front of a national-television audience.
"Nobody wants to go out there and drop balls and miss blocks and make penalties. But that's part of the game. We've just got to correct them. That's out of the norm for ourselves," Wayne said.
Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois was equally displeased.
"You've been executing the whole week (prior to the San Diego game) and you finally see it in the game, then you see dropped passes, the unnecessary penalties, all those things, it makes you frustrated," he said.
If there is a silver lining to playing Denver this week after a Monday night game, it gives the Colts the opportunity to put the San Diego loss behind them pretty quickly.
"Certainly, after games like that, the quicker you can get back on (the practice) fields and play a game, it can't come quick enough for all of us," Pagano said Monday.
"But we've got to go through the process and prepare obviously for this next opponent. Sunday can't come quick enough."
Pagano called the mistakes that plagued the Colts in San Diego as "uncharacteristic."
"I just think, you can point your finger to a lot of things, didn't execute well," he said. "Three third downs on defense where you have penalties that extend drives by four plays, five plays, nine plays, lead to 10 points, that's shooting yourself in the foot. Talked about the dropped passes, which are totally uncharacteristic of our guys.
"We had opportunities, we had chances."
NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - NOTES, QUOTES
The Colts' streak of consecutive games with at least 100 team rushing yards came to a quick end against the Chargers. Indianapolis had rushed for at least 100 yards in the first five games of the season. A sixth consecutive 100-yard game would have been a franchise record.
The Colts finished the night with 74 yards in 17 carries.
"I think it goes back to credit (the Chargers) for the job that they did from a defensive standpoint," said coach Chuck Pagano. "When you don't convert on third down and you only have 42 snaps, it's hard to generate any type of offense. More run game and give yourself a chance to take those shots. But certainly, we want to do that."
--Wide receiver Reggie Wayne had a key dropped pass on a third down at San Diego, but acknowledged the Chargers took it to the Chargers throughout Monday night's game.
"We went up against a team that was defending its own turf and that plays well in big time games," said Wayne. "We have to take this on the chin. We have to figure out a way to correct our mistakes fast. We have a big game coming up (this) week. We have to make the corrections on (the San Diego) game and get going."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every loss stinks in its own way but right now this is the most frustrating loss we've had because it's fresh on our minds. We'll use it as a learning opportunity because we realize sitting at 4-2 is a lot better than 1-5 or 2-4." -- Colts QB Andrew Luck on the loss to San Diego.
NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--ILB Jerrell Freeman (concussion) was hurt in the first half of the Chargers game. He did not return. Freeman will undergo the NFL's concussion protocols this week. "He'll get tested tomorrow, come in and take a test and then we'll go from there. It'll be day by day," coach Chuck Pagano said Monday.
--S LaRon Landry (ankle) did not play against San Diego on Monday night. He has been sidelined for the past four games. His status for the Denver game remains undecided.
--OLB Bjoern Werner (foot) was not available to play at San Diego. Werner was hurt against Jacksonville three weeks ago. He was wearing a walking boot until last week. His status for the Broncos game has not been decided.
--WR LaVon Brazill saw his first game action of the season against the Chargers. Brazill had been suspended for the first four weeks of the season due to violations of the NFL's substance abuse policies. He did not catch a pass.
--WR Reggie Wayne became the ninth player in league history with at least 1,000 career receptions in the San Diego game. Wayne caught five passes for 88 yards, giving him 1,001 career receptions. He also had a reception in his 118th straight game, the third-longest active streak in the NFL.
--PK Adam Vinatieri connected on two 50-plus yard field goals against the Chargers. Vinatieri had a 50-yard kick at the end of the first half and added a 51-yarder midway through the fourth quarter. His kicks marked the third time in franchise history that a Colts placekicker had two 50-plus yard attempts in the same game (Mike Vanderjagt, 2002; Dean Biasucci, 1988). It was also the first time that Vinatieri had two 50-plus yard kicks in the same game.
--With ILB Jerrell Freeman sidelined for most of the second half of the San Diego game, ILBs Kelvin Sheppard and Mario Harvey both had extensive playing time.
--S Delano Howell started his fourth straight game for the Colts, filling in for an injured LaRon Landry. Howell left the Chargers game briefly with an unspecified injury but later returned.
REPORT CARD VS. CHARGERS:
PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus - Dropped passes hurt the Colts in the loss to San Diego. Through the first five games of the season, Indianapolis had just eight dropped passes. There were five in the loss to the Chargers. QB Andrew Luck completed 18 of 30 passes for 202 yards and was intercepted once. He was also sacked once.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C - When will RB Trent Richardson break through and have a big game for the Colts? He is showing more glimpses of his big-time ability but had only 40 yards in 10 carries. RB Donald Brown added 15 yards in three carries. But as much as fans and media want to question Richardson, the Colts' offensive line has not been consistent in making enough running lanes for either running back to go through.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus - San Diego QB Philip Rivers completed 22 of 33 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He was not sacked all night and often had plenty of time to sit back and pick out a receiver downfield. Rookie WR Keenan Allen led the way for the Chargers with nine catches for 107 yards and one touchdown.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus - Chargers RB Ryan Mathews rushed for a game-high 102 yards in 27 carries. The San Diego offensive line pretty much had its way against the Colts. RB Danny Woodhead added 36 yards in nine carries, although it seems as if he had more yardage than that.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus - The good news was that PK Adam Vinatieri connected on three field goals (30, 50, 51). P Pat McAfee averaged 40.6 yards on five punts. He also had three touchbacks on kickoffs. McAfee also had a short punt that gave San Diego prime field position.
COACHING: C-Plus - Too many mistakes in the loss to San Diego. Penalties, dropped passes. Head coach Chuck Pagano was questioned after the game about his late third-quarter decision to punt on fourth-and-3 with the ball at the Chargers' 40-yard line. Indianapolis had a tough time slowing down San Diego's offense all night. Also, is there an over-dependence on the running game, especially when QB Andrew Luck has a group of talented receivers to work with?