Like Whole Team, Offense Still Looking for Consistency, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – At times, Tony Dungy said things look familiar.
At times this season, Dungy – in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach – said the team's offense has been as productive as normal, running smoothly and producing touchdowns.
Dungy said it just hasn't happened enough. Not yet.
"We're just not as sharp as we need to be – probably like the whole team," Dungy said Monday, a day after the Colts' second loss in three regular-season games this season.
The Colts, who have ranked in the Top 10 in the NFL in total offense the last nine seasons – and in the Top 5 the last five seasons – currently rank 20th, and have produced 52 points in three games.
The Colts, after scoring 13 points in the season opener, beat the Minnesota Vikings, 18-15, in Week 2. On Sunday, the offense produced a season-high three touchdowns, including a 2-yard run by running back Joseph Addai that gave the Colts a late lead over Jacksonville.
Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee's 51-yard field goal with :04 seconds remaining then gave Jacksonville a 23-21 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts, after ranking 32nd in the NFL in rushing through the first two games, rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries Sunday, an average of 6.0 yards per carry.
"We had some things go well," Dungy said. "We played well in spurts. We've missed more passes, for whatever reason, than we normally do. We got our running game going against a good run defense this past week, so that was good to see.
"Overall, we're not used to punting as much as we've punted and we just played in spurts, I think."
Dungy said several dropped passes have hurt, and said Sunday – as was the case in the first two games – there were chances for several big plays that narrowly missed.
"When everybody's pressing, trying to make plays, it just kind of goes with the territory," Dungy said. "We just have to settle down and do what we're supposed to do and we'll be in good shape.
"Really, we just have to get sharp."
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has completed 71 of 120 passes for 784 yards and three touchdowns with four interceptions this season with a 73.1 passer rating. His passer ratings the last five seasons have been 98.0, 101.0, 104.1, 121.1 and 99.0.
But Manning in each of the last two games has rallied the Colts in dramatic fashion in the waning moments. Against the Minnesota Vikings, he produced three drives in the final 20 minutes as Indianapolis won, 18-15, on a field goal by Adam Vinatieri in the final seconds.
Against Jacksonville, the Colts drove 77 yards on 11 plays in 1:26, with Manning throwing a crucial fade pass to wide receiver Marvin Harrison for a 27-yard gain on 4th-and-2 from the Colts 31. Manning also hit wide receiver Reggie Wayne with a 20-yard pass to take the ball to the Jaguars 2.
A GOOD CALL: After speaking with officials from the NFL office Monday, Dungy said a crucial, late-game pass interference penalty against linebacker Freddy Keiaho Sunday against Jacksonville was the correct call.
"They said it was a good call," Dungy said.
On the play in question, with :29 remaining, the Jaguars faced 4th-and-1 from their 29. Quarterback David Garrard threw an incomplete pass to his right, and after the ball hit the Lucas Oil Stadium FieldTurf, Colts players celebrated. Seconds later came a penalty flag.
The call was pass interference against Keiaho, a call that gave Jacksonville a first down.
Four plays later, Scobee kicked the game-winning 51-yard field goal.
"They said it was pass interference, because he ran into the intended receiver," Dungy said. "It was just one of those unfortunate things. He's looking at his man and happened to run into the guy who was the intended receiver. That one, they said, was a good call.
"It's one of those tough situations. I think it was the right call. We still had a couple of chances to stop them after that."
Keiaho said Monday he was surprised to see the flag.
"I thought the game was over," Keiaho said. "I thought we were flagged for excessive celebration. I was just really surprised about that. That wasn't the end of the game. The end of the game was when they kicked the field goal. We still had opunities to shut them out on defense. We didn't take advantage of it."
Still, Keiaho said he was surprised at the ruling.
"I don't know the referee's vantage point," Keiaho said. "I was just running to my drop. . . . I didn't understand that I had to get out of his way in that situation."
Dungy also was asked about a pass-interference penalty that wasn't called on Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis in the first half. With 5:10 remaining in the second quarter, Mathis returned an interception 61 yards to give the Jaguars their first lead, 14-10.
On the play, Mathis appeared to grab the jersey of Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, who fell to the ground as Mathis moved in front of the pass.
"The rest of them I can't comment on because you can only comment on the good calls," Dungy said.
NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: In recent seasons, the Colts have been one of the NFL's best teams in turnover ratio. That hasn't been the case this season.
The Colts last season finished second in the NFL in turnover ratio at plus-18 also forced 37 turnovers – second in the NFL.
Through three games this season, the Colts are minus-3 in turnovers, having forced two and committed five. They threw two interceptions Sunday against Jacksonville, and had one interception, the team's first interception of the season.
"We don't have a lot of turnovers yet on defense," Dungy said. "That's something that we have to get going, but a lot of that is just mindset and playing extremely hard."
A MENTAL THING: The Colts will have two full practices this week – one on Wednesday and one on Thursday – and Dungy said the practices will focus mostly on mental situations.
The practices will not be in pads, Dungy said.
"We'll have some guys sit out," Dungy said. "I'm sure we'll have some guys sore after this game. We're going to practice with no pads, so a lot of it is just going to be mental and creating that mindset and knowing what to do.
"If we can get that done, I think we'll play hard and we'll make some things happen."
ETC., ETC.: The Colts rank 22nd in the NFL in total defense and 30th against the run, having 180 yards or more rushing in each of the first three games. They allowed 236 yards rushing on 48 carries against Jacksonville Sunday and Dungy said was the case in 2006 – when the Colts struggled against the run before solidifying the area en route to the Super Bowl title – personnel changes aren't the answer. "I don't think it's going to be a matter of somebody coming in from the outside that's going to save this thing," he said. "I think it's going to be our guys playing a little better and a little sharper and us coaching a little bit better and getting back to our fundamentals. It's easy to say, 'Change this person,' or, 'Change this,' or, 'Do this differently.' We just have to get back to doing what we do best and playing a little harder and a little shaper.'' . . . Offensive guard Dan Federkeil left Sunday's game with a rib injury. Dungy said he expects Federkeil to return following this week's bye week. . . . Tight end Dallas Clark left the game briefly following a hit on the Colts' late touchdown drive, but returned. "I haven't seen him today, but I haven't heard anything negative," Dungy said of Clark. . . . Dungy said he didn't disagree with the offensive approach on the Colts' final touchdown drive. Facing 1st-and-goal on the Jaguars 2, Manning threw incomplete twice before running back Joseph Addai scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. The Jaguars took possession with 1:07 remaining and drove 47 yards on seven plays for the game-winning field goal with :04 remaining. "The thing is, you have to score," Dungy said. "They're playing defenses that dictate certain things. We threw two passes and didn't complete them and didn't take any time off. Eventually, we scored and that's what you have to do. You don't want to take the time off and not score. We got the lead and we had the ball at their 20. Our defense really needs to stop them at that point. That's what has to happen."