Colts get back to normal with route of Giants
Look out AFC, Indianapolis has its swagger back.
One week after frustration and anger permeated the Colts’ locker
room, a looser, more confident bunch returned Monday with jokes,
laughter and a much-needed sense of relief.
”I think we can travel with it,” defensive captain Gary
Brackett said of the recovered bravado, drawing laughter. ”I think
we’ll check that bag and make sure it’s not left anywhere.”
It was a stark contrast from last week when Indy’s embarrassing
34-24 loss at Houston put the unthinkable in play – a possible 0-2
start for the first time since Peyton Manning’s rookie season,
Not a chance.
If Indy proved anything with Sunday’s 38-14 blowout against the
Giants, it was this: The defending AFC champs can be as good as
they ever have been.
The NFL’s worst running team last season ran for 160 yards on 43
carries against the Giants, the first time Indy has topped 40
rushing attempts since October 2007. Joseph Addai finished with 92
yards, his highest total since November 2008, and Manning was
especially efficient, throwing for 255 yards and three touchdowns
with a passer rating of 145.5.
The offensive line, a big target following Indy’s season-opening
loss, allowed only one sack, created big holes for Addai and Donald
Brown and kept Manning upright most of the night against Pro Bowl
defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.
And Indy (1-1) executed its game plan to perfection.
”Our goal was to take advantage of how they were playing us,”
left tackle Charlie Johnson said. ”We thought we’d get a lot of
nickel and dime packages from them, and we knew we’d have to run
against that. And we wanted to play fast because we think we’re
better when we do that.”
New York (1-1) spent the whole night playing catch-up, after
falling into a 24-0 hole, and played right into the strengths of
the Colts’ defense.
The big cushion allowed Pro Bowl ends Dwight Freeney and Robert
Mathis to tee off on Manning’s brother, Eli, combining for four
sacks and forced three Eli Manning fumbles.
Just like it’s drawn up.
”When our offense jumps up by two or three touchdowns, you know
what time it is,” Mathis said. ”It’s time to eat, and he (the
quarterback) is the food.”
It was Indianapolis’ first victory since the AFC championship.
The Colts lost the Super Bowl, all four preseason games and the
opener in Houston before a week’s worth of sharp practices and a
return to a simple philosophy for the beleaguered defense got them
back on the right track.
”I think we had to get back to the basics,” cornerback Kelvin
Hayden said. ”It seemed like the guys were trying to do a little
more than their own job in the first game. This week, everybody
kind of said ‘Hold your ground and play smart, fast and
It was so frustrating for the Giants that Brandon Jacobs even
tossed his helmet, unintentionally, into the stands.
The Colts are hoping the balanced offense and opportunistic
defense from Sunday night will be the norm from here on out as they
try to become the first Super Bowl loser to make it back to the big
game since Buffalo returned for the fourth straight time after the
Next up is Denver, a team Indy has beaten four straight times
and that could be starting two rookie cornerbacks this weekend.
Nine-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey left the stadium Sunday on
crutches after hurting his right foot or ankle. Coach Josh
McDaniels said Bailey doesn’t have any broken bones, he didn’t say
how much time Bailey might miss.
The Colts aren’t worried about Denver’s potential problems,
Nope, they just want to keep improving – and demonstrating that
the real Colts showed up in Week 2.
”You can call it a wake-up call or whatever, but the Houston
Texans are good, too. They get paid, too, and they came out with a
good game plan, just like we did last night,” defensive tackle
Daniel Muir said. ”You know, when you get punched in the face,
that’s exactly what you’ve got go to do, fight back, and we got
punched in the face.”