Colts Look for Consistency While Preparing for Denver Broncos
INDIANAPOLIS – One game does not decide a season.
Peyton Manning, in his 13th season as the Colts' quarterback, said while that was true last week after a double-digit loss in the regular-season opener, it's just as true this week following a decisive prime-time, nationally-televised victory.
Yes, Manning said, there were positives established Sunday against the New York Giants.
But those mean little if they're not built upon.
"It's probably too early to start talking about being back on track," Manning said Wednesday afternoon as the Colts (1-1) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (1-1) of the AFC West at INVESCO Field at Mile High on Sunday at 4:15.
"I don't know if after Week Two you've identified a course quite yet."
The Colts, the AFC South champions six of the past seven seasons, enter Week Three tied for second in the division, one game behind Houston. Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney said the Colts' focus for now is on continuing to improve, and continuing to focus on themselves.
"It's just imant that we kind of do what we do," said Freeney, who had two sacks and two forced fumbles Sunday, and who now has three sacks in two games this season.
"Every day is different. It's a new day. We're not really worried about what happened in the past. We've got to correct those mistakes, but we have to keep on moving forward. We take everything in small steps, and the big things usually take care of themselves."
Manning said a primary goal for the Colts this week is establishing consistency. They lost to the Houston Texans, 34-24, in Week One at Houston in a game in which Indianapolis trailed throughout with the Texans pulling away in the second half.
In Week Two, the Colts took an early lead at Lucas Oil Stadium, leading the Giants 24-0 by halftime, a margin that allowed the Colts' pass rush to control the second half en route to a 38-14 victory.
"Sunday night's game is the kind of effort and execution we're looking for," Manning said. "We did not have that in Week One."
Manning said from an offensive perspective that was particularly true. And it was particularly true of the offensive balance.
A week after Manning threw a career-high 57 passes for 433 yards and three touchdowns in Houston, the Colts ran 43 times against the Giants for 160 yards.
The 43 rushing attempts were the most for the Colts in Manning's 13 seasons.
"It's a great feeling," Manning said. "It was really fun to watch. You hand off and you're supposed to carry out your fake, but when you see (running back Joseph) Addai going for 10 yards, 15 yards, it's kind of hard not to watch. It's something we would love to see on a consistent basis.
"Him and Donald (Brown) both ran so hard. The line, the tight ends, the receivers did a great job blocking for him, giving both of them holes."
Addai against the Giants rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries, with Brown rushing for 69 yards on 16 carries and an early seven-yard touchdown.
Brown laughed when asked if the Colts were now a "running team."
"I wouldn't say that," Brown said. "We just want to help him (Manning) out any way we can and take some of the pressure off of him at times. The offensive line did a great job, and we just have to capitalize on it and make the most of every run."
Manning said it will be important for the Colts to achieve something similar in offensive balance the rest of the season.
"It was an excellent job on the run game on Sunday, but you want it to be a consistent thing and not an every-other-week type thing," he said. "There's no question it opens up so many things. It makes the quarterback's job easier, and it makes the play-caller's job easier. You don't have to dial up creative ways to get yards and to get first downs.
"If you're going first down, second down, first down with the same running play, it makes a lot of jobs easier, I would say that."
Manning said while offensive balance is important, if the Colts had to choose between a game with a high number of passing attempts and a high number of rushing attempts, the latter is more ideal.
"The way it went last week would be more the goal, I think," Manning said. "It was more run than pass, and I'd say that's been pretty rare around here. Twenty-six pass attempts compared to 57 – that usually means you're probably scoring more points and being more effective.
"The first game, throwing that many attempts – it means you're behind. It means you're being one-dimensional. Something along the lines of the way we balanced it out against the Giants is what we're shooting for. The main thing is you're looking for that production."
But Manning said while the Colts improved against the Giants, that improvement gives no assurance that it will continue Sunday.
"It's a totally different game," Manning said. "It's a totally different opponent this week. I know we did practice much better last week, and it did carry onto the field. We're looking for that same kind of consistent week of practice this week, which hopefully will translate into better play."