Emotion, Effort Helped Colts to Dramatic Victory, Dungy Says
HOUSTON, Texas – Tony Dungy's locker-room message was clear.
And although it focused on the positives of an improbable, memorable, come-from-behind victory over a division rival, it focused on what Dungy said was reality, too.
Rallying from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit was great, Dungy – the Colts' seventh-year head coach – said he told players in the wake of a 31-27 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon. The passion was great, too, he told the players.
But Dungy also said more is necessary in the future.
And it certainly can't take as long to appear.
"I told our team in the locker room it could be a season-saver if we take this passion and this energy and emotion we played with in the last four minutes and we continue to play that way over 60 minutes," Dungy said minutes after the game.
"We have to break out of whatever lethargic state we've been in."
Colts defensive end Robert Mathis, whose fourth-quarter sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery set up the game-winning touchdown, said the game was decided on emotion and effort.
"Adrenaline is a fool – nothing short of it," Mathis said. "When you have it, you have it. You just have to keep building on it. It was hiding for 55 minutes, and fortunately we found it the last five minutes. We needed it."
Dungy said afterward the Colts played well early, taking a 10-point lead, but said allowing the Texans to score on five of seven possessions to take a 27-10 lead was "quite a shock."
"The middle part wasn't very good,' Dungy said, adding, "We have to play better, play sharper. I thought we had that passion at the end, but it was missing during the middle of the game. We have to get that back somehow."
And two of the Colts' most veteran players said Dungy's message was received and one players must heed.
"We've got to find it," said Brock, a seven-year veteran who – along with three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney – is the Colts' defense's most-tenured play. "We have to play consistent and play with that fire for 60 minutes.
"I just think we have to be more consistent. It was a big win for us. It shows some of the younger guys that you have to keep playing hard. You never know what's going to happen. You have to play the 60 minutes. Regardless of how far down we are, anything's possible."
Said Colts two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne, "I hope the last five minutes of this game is something we can build on. That's kind of the way we practice and want to play.
"Hopefully, this will carry on and move forward from there."
Wayne was asked if the Colts were disappointed with the game's first 55 minutes.
"You have to be, because you know you're capable of better football," Wayne said. "You wait all week, practicing a certain way, and you're hoping and praying it works for you, then you come out here and nothing goes your way, it's kind of disappointing. But we came out with a victory, and you can never be disappointed with that."
THREE FOR FREENEY: The Colts forced three turnovers on the Texans' final three possessions, and nearly got another early in the game.
Midway through the third quarter, defensive end Dwight Freeney got free around the left side of the Houston line and sacked quarterback Sage Rosenfels. The ball came loose and Texans rookie offensive tackle Duane Brown recovered.
For Freeney, who missed the last seven games of last season with a foot injury, it was the third sack in four games this season.
A FAVORABLE REPLAY: Wayne said he didn't know if he had scored or not.
He was just glad his teammates were right.
With just under two minutes remaining and the Colts facing 1st-and-goal at the Houston 5, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw a fade pass to Wayne, who touched his shin down just in bounds. Officials ruled the play a touchdown.
The play was reviewed, after which officials ruled that because Wayne had touched his shin in bounds, the call in the field stood.
"I had no clue, especially with the new rule being in effect," Wayne said, referring to a new NFL rule that said a defender can force a receiver out of bounds. "that works against us. I kind of went to the sideline telling everybody I didn't know, but everybody said, 'No, you're good.' Hey, the majority rules."
HAYDEN, GONZALEZ INJURED: Cornerback Kelvin Hayden left the game with a knee injury, and did not return.
Also, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez left the game with a concussion and did not return.
"I talked to Kelvin afterward and he stepped in one of the divisions between the sections of grass," Dungy said. "He said it just hurt his leg – not really sure what."
POLLAK, JOHNSON START: The Colts' first selection in the 2008 NFL Draft made his first NFL start Sunday.
Mike Pollak, a guard from Arizona State selected in the second round of the April 2008 NFL Draft, started in place of injured Dan Federkeil at right guard against the Houston Texans Sunday, the club announced shortly before kickoff.
Pollak missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury.
Also, veteran Charlie Johnson started in place of Tony Ugoh at left offensive tackle and rookie Jamey Richard started in place of Johnson at left guard. Ugoh, who was active Sunday, had missed the Colts' Week 3 game with a groin injury.
"Charlie had had a lot of work there the last two weeks and played well," Dungy said. "Tony has worked his way back and was probably ready to play. We just felt Charlie would be a little sharper today and playing against a really good player (Texans defensive end Mario Williams) you need that."
Federkeil, who sustained a shoulder injury in the Colts' Week 3 loss to Jacksonville, was among eight Colts players made inactive for Sunday's game.
The Colts other game-day inactives were:
Safety Bob Sanders (knee), linebacker Buster Davis, offensive tackle Corey Hilliard, wide receiver Roy Hall (knee), tight end Jacob Tamme, defensive tackle Daniel Muir and defensive end Marcus Howard.
HOW THEY SCORED
COLTS 10 00 00 21 – 31
TEXANS 00 17 03 07 – 27
COLTS 3, TEXANS 0
Adam Vinatieri 46 FG, 9:42 remaining first quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 45 yards, 5:18. Key play: Joseph Addai 6 run on 4th-and-1 from Texans 41.
COLTS 10, TEXANS 0
Joseph Addai 1 run (Vinatieri kick), 2:16 remaining first quarter. Drive: 10 plays, 64 yards, 5:22. Key play: Reggie Wayne 36 pass from Peyton Manning on 4th-and-1 from Texans 45.
COLTS 10, TEXANS 7
Steve Slaton 1 run (Kris Brown), 12:06 remaining second quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 71 yards, 5:10. Key play: Owen Daniels 20 pass from Sage Rosenfels on 1st-and-10 from Colts 43.
COLTS 10, TEXANS 10
Kris Brown 37 FG, 7:09 remaining second quarter. Drive: Seven plays, 50 yards, 3:21. Key play: Andre Johnson 39 pass from Rosenfels on 3rd-and-1 from Texans 40.
TEXANS 17, COLTS 10
Johnson 5 pass from Rosenfels (Brown kick), :27 remaining second quarter. Drive: Nine plays, 61 yards, 2:51. Key play: Andre Davis 6 pass from Rosenfels on 3rd-and-6 from Colts 30.
TEXANS 20, COLTS 10
Brown 43 FG, :21 remaining third quarter. Drive: 15 plays, 67 yards, 8:47. Key play: Defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-17 gives Texans 1st-and-10 on Texans 46.
TEXANS 27, COLTS 10
Slaton 1 run (Brown kick), 8:18 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Seven plays, 80 yards, 3:59. Key play: Kevin Walter 27 pass from Sage Rosenfels on 1st-and-10 from Colts 39.
TEXANS 27, COLTS 17
Tom Santi 6 pass from Peyton Manning (Vinatieri kick), 4:04 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: 11 plays, 81 yards, 4:14. Key play: Wayne 22 pass from Manning on 2nd-and-5 from Texans 44.
TEXANS 27, COLTS 24
Gary Brackett 68 fumble return (Vinatieri kick), 3:36 remaining fourth quarter.
COLTS 31, TEXANS 27
Reggie Wayne 5 pass from Manning (Vinatieri kick), 1:54 remaining fourth quarter. Drive: Two plays, 20 yards, :42. Key play: Robert Mathis recovers fumble by Sage Rosenfels at Texans 20.