Colts Far From Panic Following Loss to Texans
Still, the Indianapolis Colts are experienced enough -- and they have been through enough difficulties in the last decade -- that they weren't panicking in the wake of a 34-24 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday in the 2010 regular-season opener.
The Colts struggled in that game to stop the run. And they struggled to protect quarterback Peyton Manning.
But while those are clearly two fundamental, must-fix issues, veterans who have been around the Colts for a while have seen such problems get fixed in a hurry, and said there's no reason that can't happen again.
"We pride ourselves on fixing things, and I think that's what we'll get done," Colts middle linebacker and defensive captain Gary Brackett said.
The Texans rushed for 257 yards, with running back Arian Foster rushing for a franchise-record 237 yards and three touchdowns. That was the most yards for which an opposing running back has ever rushed for in a single game against the Colts.
"Every year's a little different, but we've been a team that has been able to get ourselves in position to stop the run," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "We've had teams before that have certainly been dedicated to just strictly running the ball downhill at us and we've certainly been able to rise to the occasion. I think with work -- we have a lot of work to do -- we can get right back to where we are a team that can stop that run."
Foster rushed for 191 yards in the second half, but Brackett said there were positives -- particularly early -- on which to build.
"We were playing pretty good," Brackett said. "We were getting off the field on third down, holding those guys to field goals, then the second half obviously was a different story. That first half, I think we can build on."
Manning, the NFL's Most Valuable Player the past two seasons, was sacked twice and hit hard on several other occasions. Pass protection is a major priority in the Colts' offense, but although Caldwell said one hit on Manning is too many, he said overall the offensive line played well.
"We have high standards around here," Caldwell said. "If he gets hit one time, that's one too many. Overall, I thought there were a few too many times. Obviously, he got sacked twice, but for the most part, all in all when you look at it, the line did a pretty good job under some pretty heavy pressure and some good rushers...
"When you look at the film, there were some good battles going on in there, and they were able I think to do a pretty good job."
The Colts have won six of the past seven AFC South titles, and have won 12 or more games in a season an NFL-record seven consecutive seasons. Caldwell said the Colts' approach won't be to panic over one early-season loss.
"It's a long haul," Caldwell said. "It's Round 1 of a 16-round fight. What we have to do is continue to get better each and every week. That's what we focus in on. We really don't look at things and closely and examine the season until after we've played about four games.
"Then, you can kind of tell where you are and have an idea of things."
Also on Monday, Caldwell said there were no issues with the NFL's new umpire placement policy. There had been concern that moving the umpires from behind the defense to behind the offense would hinder the Colts' quick-tempo offense, but the NFL tweaked the changes during preseason.
"Did not have any issues at all," Caldwell said. "There may have been one time where it was fairly close, but no issues."