That seems to be the best thing that the Indianapolis Colts can do right now after dropping their fifth straight National Football League game in a 28-24 loss Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Indianapolis hasn’t lost five straight at the start of a season since 1997. That team wound up losing its first 10 before ending the year with a 3-13 mark.
The last time that a Colts team lost five straight at any point in a season was in 2001. Those losses came in the middle of the year and resulted in a 6-10 record.
If the Colts can’t find a way to scratch out a win at Cincinnati this week, the road ahead looks particularly daunting. Back-to-back road trips to face New Orleans and Tennessee follow the Bengals game.
“We got to stay together. We can’t point fingers, we got to stay together. We’re still fighting, that’s the good thing, no one is out there giving up,” safety Antoine Bethea said.
“Like I said, we just got to stay together, keep fighting, keep getting better, and eventually we’ll get a win.”
The loss to the Chiefs was a particularly tough one for the Colts to swallow. Indianapolis twice had double-digit leads in the first half and let the game slip away over the final two quarters.
“All losses are tough to swallow, but especially this one. Blowing a lead here at home, we’re most definitely trying to get over the hump and we blew this one,” Bethea said.
Injuries continue to chip away at Indianapolis as running back Joseph Addai and cornerback Jerraud Powers both left the Kansas City game with hamstring injuries.
It’s not immediately known if either Addai or Powers will be available to play against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
“It’s frustrating and, obviously, very disappointing. We just can’t finish, and that’s the real key. We have to be able to finish, and we haven’t been able to do so thus far,” coach Jim Caldwell said.
Quarterback Curtis Painter will remain in charge of the Colts offense for the foreseeable future. Painter has played well in his first two starts for Indianapolis over the previous two games.
“Curtis is our starter right now. He’s a guy that has done well and I think when you look at that performance he had [against Kansas City], I’m not certain why there’s a question at this point in time,” Caldwell said.
• Effort not the issue — The Colts coach doesn’t have an issue with the effort his team has put forth this season. Far from it.
“You look at the way in which they play, and that’s the key. Are we in every game? We are right in the thick of it. We just have to learn how to finish. We’ve got a lot of men of character, of good focus and integrity and those guys will fight you tooth and nail. We just have to get it to tip in our favor there at the end, which we haven’t been able to do,” Caldwell said.
“I haven’t been concerned about their effort, haven’t been concerned about their preparation and I don’t think you see any of those things in terms of how they play. If that were the case, then you’d see a lot of blowouts going the other direction, which does not happen.”
• Injury list — Addai hurt his right hamstring in the second quarter and Powers his left late in the fourth quarter. They were scheduled to undergo magnetic resonance imaging Monday.
Offensive guard Ryan Diem (ankle) hopes to return to practice this week after sitting out the last three weeks.
If he is able to return to the practice field, it’s not known as of yet whether he will play right guard or return to right tackle, where he started the last several seasons.
• Colts standing pat at cornerback for now — Despite Jacob Lacey struggling at left cornerback and Powers nursing a sore hamstring at right cornerback, there are no current plans to bring in another cornerback. Of course, those plans can change quickly.
“Until we are confirmed about what [Powers’] situation may be, then we certainly would not like to talk about it all at this point in time. Nevertheless, I think you well know that we have to take a real good look at our situation, and see if we have some guys,” Caldwell explained. “I think we have some young guys that are certainly capable of getting in there and playing, but it’s just a matter of experience. I do think there are some guys here that can play as well.”
Lacey’s status as a starter remains precarious. He was targeted time and again by Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
“Lace works at it. [He] has just had a real up-and-down go of it. There are sometimes where he makes some plays, and other times where he doesn’t. It’s not because of a lack of trying or anything of that nature, but he’s got to get better,” Caldwell said.
“The young guys [second year cornerbacks Terrence Johnson and Kevin Thomas as well as rookie Chris Rucker] have potential, and I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think those guys, with a few more reps, you’ll see them come along and practice well. I think that for the most part they may be in the same situation that Curtis [Painter] was in. They need reps, they need opportunities and they just have to get in there and play.”
• Roster move — The Colts have brought back veteran defensive tackle Dan Muir to the active roster and have waived offensive tackle Mike Tepper.
Muir played three seasons with Indianapolis (2008-2010) but was not re-signed this past spring. He subsequently signed with the St. Louis Rams but was waived.
Tepper, meanwhile, began the 2011 season on the Colts’ practice squad and was elevated to the active roster Oct. 3. He saw playing time against Tampa Bay two weeks ago.
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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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Get ready for the Brother Bowl.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
It's a job, not a reunion, Luck says
Andrew Luck made one thing clear this week.
He doesn’t regard Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium with the Houston Texans as a chance to go back to his home town and talk about old times.
Colts’ meeting comes on heels of Texans’ big loss
The Indianapolis Colts are quite aware of who, and what, they’re going to be facing Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
Former Illinois star Meyers Leonard living the NBA dream
One thing is for certain. Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn’t need 40 minutes to incite a crowd with a posterizing slam dunk or a big shot block.
At just 20 years of age, the former Robinson, Ill., standout who took his talents to Champaign for two years is getting his feet wet at the highest level of basketball.
Close to 300 fans, many of whom watched Leonard take the Maroons to the 2010 IHSA Class 2A state championship, rode on charter buses to watch him battle the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis last week.
Update: Ravens dismiss former South standout Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator
Former Terre Haute South High School football and basketball standout Cam Cameron was fired Monday as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost two straight and are still striving for consistency in the running and passing game.
Leonard has moment for highlight reel, but Pacers come away with victory
One night after pulling even with the Chicago Bulls for first place in the NBA’s Central Division, the Indiana Pacers at least maintained that advantage thanks to another big game from Paul George.
Titans to sport new look vs. Colts
Even though the Indianapolis Colts won the first meeting with the Tennessee Titans, interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians doesn’t think it will help his team Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Lions present many challenges for Colts
Finding a way to stop, or at least slow down, the Detroit Lions’ fast-paced offense is the primary goal of Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Wild card looking mighty doable right now: Colts improve to 7-4 with win
Don't look now, but the upstart Indianapolis Colts have jumped to the front
of class when it comes to securing one of the two available wild-card berths
in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
‘Resilient’ label fits Colts
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Do-or-die Bills next for Colts
Indianapolis Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in regard to the postseason.
How will the Colts rebound vs. the Bills?
The big question for the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare for Sunday's home game with Buffalo is a pretty simple one.
Colts healthy entering key road game
If all goes well during today’s short walk-through practice, it appears the Indianapolis Colts will be in pretty good health heading into Sunday’s nationally televised (4:25 p.m., CBS Sports) road game with the New England Patriots.
Colts, Patriots renew rivalry for 10th straight year
Once again, Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., it’s the Indianapolis Colts playing the New England Patriots.
Times have changed
A lot has changed for the Indianapolis Colts since a 22-17 home loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 23.
For starters, that’s the only game the 1-7 Jaguars have won this season. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has posted wins in four of its last five games and is rolling along with a 5-3 record.
Many Colts point to that loss in the third week of the season. Indianapolis led 14-3 at the half and were ahead 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In fact, the Colts led 17-16 with 0:45 remaining in the game. That’s when Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected with speedy wide receiver Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard pass play that resulted in the final margin of victory.
Colts not carried away with success
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
Not pretty, but Colts take win
Strictly from an aesthetic point of view, the Indianapolis Colts’ 17-13 National Football League win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t very attractive.
Browns rusher has taken criticism from Hall of Famer to heart
Trent Richardson has a point to prove.
Colts wish linebackers could play more at same time
If the Indianapolis Colts could get both of their starting outside linebackers — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — on the field together for more than four quarters this season, it would be interesting to see how quickly the team’s defensive unit could continue its development.
Pagano gives Colts 4 days off
With a bye this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts went through a short week of practice before taking a long four-day weekend.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano put the Colts through workouts Tuesday and Wednesday before allowing the team to scatter across the country.
Players are due back Sunday evening as Pagano and his coaching staff hope to hit the ground running heading into Indianapolis’ Oct. 7 home game with Green Bay.
Tentative agreement reached on NFL referees' contract
The NFL and the referees’ union reached a tentative contract agreement at midnight today, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.
“Our officials will be back on the field starting tomorrow night” for the Cleveland-Baltimore game, Commissioner Roger Goodell said after a day of marathon negotiations.
With Goodell at the table, the sides concluded two days of talks with the announcement of a tentative eight-year deal, which must be ratified by 51 percent of the union’s 121 members. They plan to vote Friday.
Colts receiver Collie will miss season with knee injury
Indianapolis Colts receiver Austin Collie will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee.
Wide receiver Avery starting to feel at home with Colts
Count Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as two of Donnie Avery’s biggest supporters.
The Colts’ wide receiver, who has struggled with knee issues the last two seasons after being the first receiver selected in the 2008 NFL draft, opened a lot of eyes in last Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Avery hauled in nine passes for 111 yards in the victory, his first big performance since joining the team as an unrestricted free agent last March.
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