INDIANAPOLIS – Most NFL teams breakdown the regular season into quarters and that means that last weekend ended “Quarter 1” for the Colts.
Sitting at 3-1, Chuck Pagano is pleased with where his team stands (tied for the AFC South lead) after four weeks.
The “second quarter” begins on Sunday and over the next month, the Colts will play three primetime games and against teams with a combined 12-4 record.
On Sunday, the undefeated Seattle Seahawks will kick off the brutal stretch. The Seahawks are fresh off a 17-point comeback victory on the road against the Houston Texans.
“They’ve got a roster that is filled with excellent football players on both sides of the ball. They’ve got a quarterback that’s a nightmare to contain and handle,” Pagano said earlier this week.
“Their defense is as good as there is in the National Football League. They got ball players all over the place and they play hard, they play fast, they play with an attitude and they got a swagger. We got our hands full.”
The “nightmare” that Pagano is referring to is that of Russell Wilson.
After being chosen in the third round of the 2012 draft, Wilson led Seattle to within a field goal of making the NFC Championship last year.
Wilson was spectacular in last week’s comeback victory over the Texans, keeping numerous plays alive with his feet.
It will be the third read option attack the Colts have seen so far in 2013 and safety
“As far as the front, the d-line, being conscious of the rush. In the backfield, when (Wilson) scrambles (we) got to plaster on the receivers,” Bethea said of the assignments.
“Obviously, he can create time and he can scramble and the receivers can run around and get open and get into open spots. Defensive line, just be smart on the rush and then in the back end just plaster and stay with our guys.”
Sunday’s matchup will be yet another for the 2012 quarterback draft class.
“He’s so focused. I love that about (Luck). He’s so detail-oriented in everything about his approach. He’s just a good kid to be around,” Wilson says. “Being around him at the Pro Bowl and some of the events that we had last year and everything, I have a lot of respect for him.”
Both the Colts and Seahawks are built for sustained success thanks to their respective signal callers.
For the Colts, Sunday will be a return home as they look to win their seventh game in eight tries at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The primetime games will begin in Week Six but for now, Pagano is hoping to get that type of atmosphere come Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
“We know about their 12th man, so our challenge to our fans this week will be who’s the best 12th man in the National Football League?” Pagano says.
“I know who it is and I know our fans will prove it come Sunday.”
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch versus Colts front seven: It’s round three of the read-option and Colts defenders have said Russell Wilson is probably the best passer of the previous dual-threat quarterbacks. Throw in Marshawn Lynch, who has led the NFL in rushing since 2011, and the Seahawks have a potent one-two punch. The Colts limited the 49ers duo of Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore in Week Three and will need another disciplined effort this weekend.
Colts wide receivers versus the Seahawks secondary: Including Seattle’s nickel back, all five of the Seahawks defensive backs have a wing span that range anywhere from 6-2.5 to 6-8. The ability for the Colts receivers to use their shiftiness, bring guys in motion, will be critical in trying to gain separation against one of the league’s best secondaries. Cornerback Richard Sherman leads the group with an NFL best 14 interceptions and 47 passes defensed since 2011.
-The Colts have allowed seven points in the fourth quarter in 2013, which is the second fewest in the NFL.
-The Colts are averaging 32:43 time of possession, which is the highest the team has had since 1997.
-Colts outside linebacker
-Seattle is 4-0 for the first time in club history.
-Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL with 16 100-yard games since 2011.
-Since 2011, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman leads the NFL in interceptions (14) and passes defensed (47).
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano (on how he would assess the first quarter of the season):
-“Love the record. Would love to be 4-0 but we’ll take 3-1 every time out. Great start to the first quarter of the season. I think we’ve gotten better every week and that’s our main goal is to come out of every ball game and say that we got better on both sides of the ball and special teams. Certainly, it’s never going to be perfect. We’re chasing perfection. I like where we’re at. I like where this team is at mentally, physically. We’ve lost some guys but guys prepare around here as starters so we’ve had guys that have been able to step in and fill the shoes of the guys that we lost and perform at the level that we need them to perform at so I feel good where we’re at.”
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano (on what has changed about
-“His work ethic, his passion for the game, his love for football, team first, self second, none of that has changed. Since I’ve known Reggie (Wayne), he’s been that same guy. The only thing that’s changed is his level of play. He’s just gotten better over the years obviously. It’s not by chance. It’s by choice because he’s a pro’s pro. He’s a man’s man. He understands what you have to sacrifice and the work you have to put in in order to play at the level that he’s played at for the amount of time he’s played.”
Colts Defensive End
-“Yeah, we living on a schedule. Seeing all the teams that run this offense, it was no surprise to us. That’s why we prepared the way we prepared in the offseason and all throughout training camp, to get ready for games like this during the season. Like I said the first two times, it’s always assignment football. Everybody’s assigned to the quarterback, dive, and then everybody hustle and make plays. That’s what we’re going into this game to do.”
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll (on Russell Wilson’s greatest asset):
-“There isn’t one. You ask me, I don’t know if there’s one particular one, but I think just his competitiveness that directs the way he prepares and the way he sets the standards for his play and his day-to-day performance is probably the most crucial element. He has so many other wonderful characteristics about him that add to it, but I think without that, he might come up short sometimes in some areas about his prep or his understanding or command of the offense or whatever. So he’s in it.”
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll (on what makes his secondary so effective):
-“Well, with the exception of Earl (Thomas), they’re all really tall. They have kind of a ball-hawking mentality in their background. Every one of these guys have been playmakers throughout their career and they bring that to us. I think the opportunity to kind of grow up together has given them a real camaraderie in a sense of playing with each other and how to complement one another that brings out the best in them. And we’re just getting going, just a couple years old, really, and hopefully we can keep these guys together for a long time.”
Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson (on if it seems like things are going well so far after four games):
-“Yeah, we’ve done a good job so far. Obviously the 4-0 start is obviously where you want to be. Our biggest thing is trying to go 1-0 every week and have that mentality. Every week is a championship game. That’s what we talk about. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job of that so far. The best part about it is there is still room for improvement. We just got to keep getting better, keep growing and I’m still learning on a daily basis. It’s one of those things that you’re excited about your next opportunity. Obviously, you take one day at a time, one opportunity at a time, one snap at a time and stay in the moment. Playing this week is going to be a very big game against a very good football team. We have a lot of respect for them and their head coach and Coach Pagano and obviously Andrew (Luck). Knowing him, he’s a good football player, a really good football player. We got to play our best game. They have a great defense. They’re making a lot of plays on defense. So we’re going to have to play our A-plus game.”