Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Indianapolis proved to be inconsistent both offensively and defensively during most of Sunday afternoon’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Still, a win is a win. And after the previous week’s 34-9 road loss to the New York Jets, the Colts needed some good vibes as they prepare for their upcoming road game with AFC South rival Tennessee.
The best news, though, came after the game from interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who confirmed that coach Chuck Pagano had been released from the Indiana University Simon Cancer Care Center earlier in the day.
Pagano, who was hospitalized three weeks ago after being diagnosed with leukemia, is now undergoing treatments at his Indianapolis-area home.
“Great news. Coach Pagano celebrated this win at home. He was at the house, released, and we’re really happy about that,” Arians said after the game.
“That [news] was probably as big as the win. He’s no longer in a hospital room so [the] treatments will go on from there.
“I’m sure he’s feeling great right now. Hopefully he didn’t get too daggone exhausted coaching from [his] bedroom and his [blood-cell] count didn’t go down. As long as his count stays up, he’s going to be in great shape.”
As for the game, most of the offense for the Colts was provided by a pair of rookies. Quarterback Andrew Luck scored on a pair of scrambles from 3 and 5 yards out in the first half. Luck also completed 16 of 29 passes for 186 yards. He was also sacked three times and fumbled once.
Running back Vick Ballard made the most of his second straight start in place of injured veteran Donald Brown (knee). Ballard ran 20 times for 84 yards, both career highs. His 26-yard rumble off left tackle on second-and-13 with 1:50 remaining in the game — the longest of his career as well as being the longest by the Colts this season — pretty much sealed the deal.
As for the defense, it was a pair of recently signed street free agents — Clifton Geathers and Lawrence Guy — who helped shore up a front line that has been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks.
Geathers, a second-year tackle from South Carolina, was unofficially credited with two tackles but played well. Guy, a former Arizona State defensive end who was signed off Green Bay’s practice squad, had just one stop but again provided quality work while he was in the game.
The Colts failed to sack Cleveland rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who wound up connecting on 25 of 41 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Weeden had scoring passes to second-year wide receiver Greg Little (14 yards) and rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon (33 yards).
Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson saw limited work, picking up just eight yards in eight carries. Richardson has been nursing a rib injury the last couple of weeks and tried to play during the first half of Sunday’s game wearing a flak jacket. Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur, though, opted to sit the former Alabama standout over the final two quarters.
Indianapolis scored on its opening possession of the game, driving 80 yards in 11 plays before Luck worked his way into the end zone. Getting points so early in the first half was important for the Colts, who have been slow starters through the first five games of the season.
After Cleveland had narrowed the margin to 7-6 on Weeden’s pass in the back of the end zone to Little and a botched extra point attempt, the Colts made it 14-6 on Luck’s second scoring run midway through the second quarter.
Both of the touchdowns came as a result of some good video review by the Indianapolis offensive coaching staff.
“I knew down in the red zone that [Cleveland] had a special coverage. They way they played it … if you broke out, [Luck] would score because it was a matchup man-to-man and everyone would have their backs turned as they tried to wall in a receiver,” Arians said later. “If [Luck] could get out [away from the pass rush], he’d score. It just so happened that it worked twice.”
The Browns made things interesting in the second half, limiting Indianapolis to a 38-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 3:19 left in the third quarter. Cleveland had scored earlier in the third quarter on Weeden’s rollout and throwback to Gordon, who beat cornerback Jerraud Powers to the corner of the end zone.
The Colts nursed their four-point lead over the final quarter, although they received a scare when a wide-open Gordon dropped what looked to be a potential 41-yard touchdown pass with 6:45 remaining in the game. It appeared as the rookie had lost sight of the ball as he looked back into the stadium’s open roof.
As it stands now, however, Indianapolis improved to 3-3 overall. The Colts have already surpassed last season’s two wins with 10 games remaining on the schedule.
“We’re obviously excited about the win. To get to 3-3, be in the hunt now in the AFC with a bunch of other teams and start to get healthy hopefully [this] week,” Arians said. “[We’ll] see if we can take this [victory] on the road [this week against the Titans].
“[There were] a lot of mistakes that can be corrected, myself included, and we’ll go from there. But [we have a] pretty happy locker room to get to 3-3. That was our goal no matter what.”
As for the game itself, the veteran NFL assistant said that Indianapolis had its share of chances throughout the day to put additional points on the board offensively and to make plays defensively.
“Fourth quarter, we were close, couldn’t finish it. Defensively, we jumped out there and made a huge fourth-down stop [in the fourth quarter]. I thought we came out of the locker room [at the beginning of the game] pretty good,” Arians said.
“A couple of throws we’d like to have back. A couple of calls I’d like to have back. A timeout I’d like to have back maybe if I had gotten it off sooner. But other than that, I’m pretty pleased with everybody’s effort.”
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
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Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
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Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
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Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
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Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
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New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
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Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
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Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
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Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
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Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
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Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
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Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
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