A MARATHON NOT A SPRINT

A loss in week one does not spell an unsuccessful season. The Colts have been down this road before. The veteran club knows how to respond.

INDIANAPOLIS – Taking a step back and looking at things from an analytical perspective can be difficult less than 24 hours after a season-opening loss, but that is exactly what the Colts did on Monday afternoon.

Indianapolis dropped a difficult outing yesterday in Houston, falling behind by 17 points in the opening quarter before eventually losing, 34-7.

Life in the NFL is lived on a week-to-week, game-by-game basis, and there is no other choice than to put last week in the rearview mirror and focus the attention to Sunday's home opener with the Cleveland Browns.

"The good thing is there is no question I believe that it is all correctable," head coach Jim Caldwell said in regard to the corrections needed from the Texans game.  "Also, the other good thing is that is the first ball game.  We've got 15 more to go."

The Colts have been down this path before, losing the first game of the season three times in the past seven years yet, still making the playoffs in each of those circumstances.

Back in 2004, the Colts lost the NFL's opening game on a Thursday night to the New England Patriots, 27-24.  Hope was restored quickly as Indianapolis went on a four-game winning streak immediately after the loss.  The team beat Tennessee, Green Bay, Jacksonville and Oakland to get to 4-1.  Indianapolis wound up the year with a 12-4 mark in winning the AFC South crown for a second straight year.

The 2008 campaign saw the Colts fall in the season opener to the Chicago Bears.  Indianapolis lost, 29-13, in the first-ever game in Lucas Oil Stadium.  The Colts bounced back with a win the next week at Minnesota.  Though the club played unevenly for the first seven games, it ended the season with nine straight victories in the final two months to finish 12-4.

For a majority of players in the Colts locker room, this Monday feeling is the same they had last season when the Texans beat Indianapolis, 34-24, in Reliant Stadium.  Once again, the Colts showed their resilience by winning their next two games en route to another AFC South championship.

Even though he is in his first season with the Colts, 17-year veteran Kerry Collins knows that no team seals playoff berths in week one.

"You've got to be undaunted by anything that happened in the game and that's win or lose, good game or bad game," Collins said.  "You've got to be able to compartmentalize it, learn from it, deal with it and move on."

Some positive things the Colts can take with from Sunday's loss to the Texans happened in the second half.  Offensively, the Colts had 164 total yards in the second half first versus only 72 in the first 30 minutes.  The defense was able to pitch a shutout in the second half, along with forcing a pair of turnovers.

Collins also saw his numbers improve after halftime throwing for 150 yards compared to 47 in the first half.  He also connected with wide receiver Reggie Wayne on a six-yard pass for the Colts' lone touchdown.

"There's a lot to learn from and once you do that, you put it behind you," Collins said.  "That is so important in this league is to learn from it, put it in its place and move on."

With 15 games remaining on the schedule, virtually an entire season lies ahead.  What matters for those veteran players who have been there before and who will point the direction now is that practice and preparation take place, and it will start on Monday.  

Second-year linebacker Pat Angerer sounded like an established veteran when he spoke about the bouts that lie ahead.

"It's one round of a fight," said Angerer.  "People have gone to lose the first round and win the fight, win the title.  We will watch this (game film), make our corrections and get better."

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