Rookies Must Learn Games Never Over Until They're Over, Brock Says
INDIANAPOLIS – Raheem Brock said he hopes the younger players got the message.
And by younger players, he said he means the Colts' rookies.
Brock, the Colts' seven-year veteran defensive end, said he knew throughout the Colts' 31-27 victory over the Houston Texans Sunday the game wasn't over. Not even when the team trailed by 17 points with just over four minutes remaining.
But Brock said not everybody knew, particularly the team's rookies.
And Brock said he hopes that has changed now.
"A lot of the young guys were saying they thought it was over," Brock said Monday, a day after the Colts scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:10 to beat the Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
"I was like, 'It's never over until it's over.' "
Brock said it was from experience that he knew there was time – while not much – to rally. Brock is one of 12 players remaining on the Colts' roster from the team's 38-35 overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003, a game in which Indianapolis trailed 35-14 with less than four minutes remaining.
Brock also played in the AFC Championship Game following the 2006 season, a game in which Indianapolis trailed New England, 21-3, before rallying for a 38-34 victory.
"We play for 60 minutes," Brock said. "We're trying to instill that in them and trying to get that confidence. I think we needed that. I think it's going to help us get where we want to be. The rookies have never been in that situation.
"We need them to help us and we need them to have confidence down the road, that if we're in that situation, we can pull it out again."
GAME BALLS AWARDED: The Colts on Monday awarded game balls for Sunday's victory over the Texans to wide receiver Reggie Wayne (offense), linebacker Gary Brackett (defense) and safety Jamie Silva (special teams).
TURNOVER TIME: Through the first three games, one thing missing for the Colts had been the ability to create turnovers. That changed in a rush late Sunday.
The Colts, after forcing 37 turnovers last season – the second-highest total in the NFL – had just two takeaways entering Sunday's game, and through the first 56 minutes Sunday, they had none.
Then, in the final four minutes, they forced three: a 68-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by middle linebacker Gary Brackett, a sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery by Robert Mathis that led to the go-ahead touchdown and a game-preserving interception by Melvin Bullitt that ended Houston's final possession.
"I think a lot of that comes from playing hard and playing with passion and energy and urgency and flying around," Dungy said. "We had some balls on the ground before that. We had some interceptable balls, but we haven't gotten them and in a couple of minutes, we did get on track. Hopefully, that opens up the floodgates."
NEW FACES: Four games, three lineups.
That has been the story for the Colts' offensive line this season, with Sunday being the third time in four games this season the unit has started a different lineup.
On Sunday, rookie guard Mike Pollak made his first NFL start in a lineup that included veteran Charlie Johnson at left tackle, rookie Jamey Richard at left guard, three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday Pollak at right guard and veteran Ryan Diem at tackle.
Thus far, Diem is the only Colts lineman to start all four games at the same position.
"I thought they did well once they got into flow of things," Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. "For Mike, it was his first real action since the preseason. As the game wore on, I thought he got better. Jamey shifted around a bit played some different positions. Both of those guys (Richard and Pollak), I thought played OK."
Johnson started in place of Tony Ugoh, who started the first two games at left tackle before missing a Week 3 game against Jacksonville with a groin injury.
"Charlie's playing fine," Dungy said. "Tony's getting back in the swing of things, and Charlie was the one who had the most practice and the most work. We just thought it was best to play Charlie. We'll see how it goes, where Tony is this week and we'll see."
SPECTACULARLY ROUTINE: Don't count Dungy among those who were amazed with Reggie Wayne's game-winning touchdown Sunday.
Not that Dungy didn't think the play was impressive.
It's just that Dungy said Colts coaches and players have seen Wayne and the rest of the Colts' receivers make such plays before.
On the play, 1st-and-goal from the Texans 5 with 2:00 remaining, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw a fade pass to Wayne on the left side of the end zone. Wayne caught the ball and holding it with one hand, maintained possession as he got a shin down just inside the sideline.
Officials ruled the play a touchdown and a review upheld the ruling.
"I've heard from a lot of people who said, 'Wow, what a catch – could you believe it?''' Dungy said. "I hate to say, 'Routine,' but it's kind of what we see a lot in practice. Our guys, they do that. They have very, very good concentration and catching the ball, getting it secure with one hand, getting his feet down . . . it was a very athletic play, but it's one we see a lot and our guys don't ever get too surprised by it.
"I think the big decision (on the review) was, 'When did he actually get control of it?'''
Dungy added with a smile, "It looked like to me like he stopped it and then had it with one hand, so I thought it was a pretty easy call."
ETC., ETC.: The fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory was the 32nd of Manning's career tying him with Hall of Fame quarterback John Unitas for the most in franchise history. . . . Wide receiver Marvin Harrison passed Jerry Rice for the most receptions in the first 13 seasons of an NFL career. He now has 1,059 receptions to 1,057 for Rice in 13 seasons. . . . Wayne tied former Colts receiver Jimmy Orr for the third-most touchdown receptions in franchise history with 50. . . . Manning how has 107 career victories as a starter, tying him with Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw for seventh-most in NFL history.