INDIANAPOLIS – Any concerns one might have that there is a confidence the Colts hold for Saturday because they beat Kansas City two weeks ago was dispelled Monday quickly by
“Pittsburgh 2005,” said Mathis without pause. “We beat them (on) Monday Night Football pretty convincingly. They came back and beat us. We were a one-and-done team, and that was arguably the best team we had since I’ve been here.
“Don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe. They’re (the Chiefs) coming to play. Bring your lunch pail.”
The 10-0 Colts smoked the 7-3 Steelers on November 28, 2005, 26-7, scoring on their first offensive play – an 80-yard Peyton Manning-to-Marvin Harrison pass – and never looking back.
The top-seeded 14-2 Colts, owning home-field playoff advantage, hosted the 12-5 Wild Card Steelers again in January, and Pittsburgh zipped to two touchdowns to open the game.
That 14-0 lead turned into a 21-18 victory and an Indianapolis team that started 13-0 with each win coming by at least seven points had no games left to play.
Other than the Super Bowl XLIV loss to New Orleans, that loss to the Steelers might be the most disappointing defeat in the team’s 30 years in Indianapolis.
“There’s a lot of times you play teams multiple times in a season, and they never turn out the same, ever,” said
“Since we played them two weeks ago, we’re familiar with them. They’re familiar with us personnel-wise. Our team is going to prepare to play. It’ll be different guys making different plays and (a) different set of circumstances for the outcome of the game.”
The Colts and Chiefs entered that November 22 match tied for the NFL’s fewest turnovers (14). The Colts won the turnover battle, 4-0, getting 14-of-23 points off Chiefs miscues.
Jamaal Charles rushed for a quick score and 106 yards, but
Indianapolis controlled the ball for more than nine minutes in each quarter, amassing a season-high 38:20 possession time.
The Chiefs were shutout for the final 56 minutes, converted one-of-eight first downs and were limited to one or no first downs on seven-of-11 possessions.
It was a victory for the Colts as decisive as that November night in 2005 when they drubbed the Steelers, but that triumph carried no cache six weeks later.
It was the Steelers who through Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Denver to reach Super Bowl XL, where they took the world championship as the Colts watched.
Chuck Pagano is like anyone else who hears theories about if prior wins or losses against an upcoming foe are advantages or disadvantages, if they provide confidence, over-confidence or motivation.
While chatter abounds, Pagano keeps his eye on the ball – it is his team and its preparation.
“It’s never about the opponent. It’s always about us,” said Pagano. “That’s what we’ve tried to always focus on.
“We know who’s coming to town, what type of players they have. We’ll study our opponent, but it’s always about us. It’s about us taking care of the little things. You take care of the cents and the dollars will come.”
Pagano said the key is to not overcook the preparation, just follow the process that has produced consecutive 11-win seasons.
As for those who think win number 12 will come because one of those 11 wins came against the Chiefs, Vinatieri offers caution.
“You’re a fool to think that the game turns out the same way because it turned out (that way before) and it was just two weeks ago,” said Vinatieri. “Hopefully the outcome is the same, but they’re never the same as the game progresses along.”