Offensive Inconsistency Due to A Number of Reasons, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – To Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, offensive performance is about more than one player. A lot more.
Peyton Manning, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback, said after a twenty-point loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., he thought he hurt the team at times, and mentioned two interceptions he threw that were returned for second-half touchdowns.
Dungy said the offense has indeed struggled at times this season.
And he said it struggled at times on Sunday, too.
But Manning, Dungy said, is far from solely responsible.
"I don't know that it's just him – I think it's our whole team," Dungy said Monday, a day after the Colts (3-3) lost, 34-14, to the Packers to slip three games behind Tennessee (6-0) in the AFC South.
"Most players, including Peyton, kind of reflect what's going on around them. He has played great for us at times in the past and seemed like he's been able to carry the whole team, but that's never really the case.
"When we're all functioning well, that's when we play our best."
The Colts, after ranking in the top four in the NFL in scoring eight of the last nine seasons, are currently are 21st in scoring with 128 points through six games.
Last season, the Colts were held under 20 points just once in the regular season, and one of those games was the season finale against Tennessee, a game with no playoff ramifications for Indianapolis.
Sunday's game was the third time this season Indianapolis has scored fewer than 20 points.
Manning, a Pro Bowl selection in each of Dungy's six previous seasons with the team, missed the preseason and training camp this season after undergoing knee surgery 10 days before the start of camp. He has started every game this season, completing 136 of 224 passes for 1,531 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions for a passer rating of 80.0.
On Sunday, Manning completed 21 of 42 passes for 229 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions for a 46.6 rating.
"I need to play better and we have to find a way to get into the end zone," Manning said afterward. "Our offense needs to try to get the lead to help our defense a little bit. We didn't do our job offensively today and I didn't do my job."
But Dungy said there was more to the effort than numbers.
The Colts, after taking a 7-3 lead, allowed the Packers to drive 80 yards on eight plays, using 4:51 and taking a 10-7 lead on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to wide receiver Donald Lee. The Colts punted on their ensuing possession after producing two first downs, then the Packers drove 89 yards on 11 plays, using 6:51 before running back Ryan Grant's 11-yard touchdown run.
"We put a lot of pressure on our offense by not taking care of business on defense, by getting bad field position with special teams penalties, by falling behind," Dungy said. "It's hard to play from 10 points down, 13 points down on offense. I think that's what happening. We have a lot of guys trying a little too hard, and trying to make things happen, and having to play one-dimensional.
"We have to play better all the way around – offense, defense and special teams – then I think we'll see what some of our individual guys can do."
ETC., ETC.: Dungy said he didn't regret opting to punt on 4th-and-1 from the Colts 49 with just under 10 minutes remaining before halftime. At the time, the Colts trailed 10-7 and after the punt, Green Bay drove 89 yards on 11 plays to take a 17-7 lead. The Colts never cut the lead under 10 again. "Everybody wants you to go for it on fourth down and when you go for it in your own territory early in the game, you either have a play you really feel like is going to work and you're very confident you're going to make it or you have a little sense of desperation," Dungy said. "Had I known we would kick the ball down to their 10 and they'd keep it eight minutes and score a touchdown, we probably would have gone for it. I didn't expect that to happen. I had confidence that we could get them stopped and get the ball back. It all works together. In hindsight, the way the way the game went, I would have liked to have gone for it. I didn't really second-guess that." . . . The Colts entered the game without two Pro Bowl players – safety Bob Sanders and running back Joseph Addai – and also were without cornerback Kelvin Hayden and tight end/h-back Gijon Robinson, something Dungy said wasn't a factor in the loss. "We've played games in the past with eight or nine starters out," Dungy said. "It doesn't seem to affect you when you're playing good football. When you aren't playing well, everything affects you. Any little thing that goes wrong seems to be a catastrophe when you're not playing well."