INDIANAPOLIS –The ability to bounce back from a loss is a trait many veteran teams possess.
Another trait winning teams possess is the ability to win on the road.
A number of coaches embrace the notion that winning all home games and splitting on the road will yield a playoff berth. By doing that math, a 12-4 record is achieved and a ticket typically is punched to play beyond the regular season.
While looking past this Sunday is not advised, the Colts will look toward Sunday as another chance for a young team to grow.
The Colts are 3-1 at home, but have dropped both road games to date. Indianapolis fell in the opener at Chicago, 41-21, and fell at the New York Jets two games ago, 35-9.
Indianapolis has achieved two things through six games that it was not able to do last year. The Colts have won more games than last year's 2-14 squad, and they have avoided a losing streak, too.
It is a measure of a young team, but another fact is that a winning streak has not happened either. Veteran cornerback Jerraud Powers hopes the team can turn a corner soon by winning consecutively and on the road. This Sunday at Tennessee would be a good time to start.
"Hopefully, we'll get a few wins in a row and not keep going on a see-saw," said Powers. "It's always good to bounce back with a win after a loss. We're definitely trying to separate ourselves from the pack right now."
At 3-3, the Colts are one of 10 AFC teams with either three or four wins. Five teams stand at 3-3, while four are 3-4 and one is 4-3. It is a jumbled group in the conference, and Indianapolis is keeping pace.
"(There are) a lot of teams with a 3-3 record, or somewhere around that range. We're in the middle of the pack, especially in the AFC," said Powers. "Houston and the Ravens are the only teams that have separated themselves. Other than that, it's the middle of the pack. We have to string together a few wins.
"Our situation, we've been at home. You always play better at home. We have to learn to play better on the road. We always talk about protecting your own home, you own turf. That's been our situation. We have to learn to play better on the road."
General Manager Ryan Grigson has called the team resilient this season in what it has faced. Head Coach Chuck Pagano has been absent the last three games while fighting very well against a bout of leukemia. The team is 2-1 under interim leader Bruce Arians, and the team is getting its competitive legs going.
"We're a young team, and we're learning by baby steps," said Grigson after the Cleveland game. "We made mistakes out there (Sunday) that I know won't happen next time. Again, it's trial and error. Every time we make a mistake, we try not to make the same mistake twice.
"I'm elated that we got the win. That's all that matters. We have to continue to work on the little things. Learn to win on the road. Learn to do the right things every time, instead of messing up and having to correct it."
Linebacker Pat Angerer was the leading tackler on the 2011 team that endured a rough season. Angerer likes the fact the team is bouncing back so far.
"It is important. We saw last year how quickly it can get out of hand," said Angerer. "Hopefully, we don't have to lose to win anymore. We need to keep this thing rolling. It shows guys don't get down. They fix their mistakes and improve."
Linebacker Jerry Hughes has seen the Colts make strides this year, and he knows the challenge of winning on the road is the next obstacle to conquer.
"The key is getting one on the road. It's really important to get two wins in a row," said Hughes. "It's always great to win in your house. You have the fans behind you giving you the energy you can feed off of. Going on the road and beating somebody at their own place is a measure of a team. That's a feeling we need to experience as team. We need to get used to that. It's nice that we've won, but we want to win on the road."
Arians knows his players care about their ability to compete regardless of venue. He would not mind seeing a winning streak start. Though Tennessee is 3-4, the Colts will be facing a talented team that has won two straight.
"I think definitely the guys have a lot of pride. You never want to lose two in a row," said Arians. "We need to start stacking some chips and learn how to win on the road so we can do that and start putting some (wins) together. (It's a) big challenge this week at Tennessee. (It's a) hard place to go play. They're starting to rebound and it looks like they're heading in the right direction, so it'll be a really good challenge for us."
The Colts are minus-nine in turnover ratio in 2012, including turning the ball over nine times in two road outings. Quarterback Andrew Luck wants to help the club rebound to succeed away from Indianapolis.
"I think you have to be a little more cutthroat. Realize it's a business trip. Don't get caught up in anything outside of that," said Luck. "Realize it's still a football field, the end zones and 100 yards in between. Don't stray from the game plan. Trust each other. Find a way to feed off an opponent's crowd as opposed to feeding off you home crowd. Home crowds have been great for us, but figure out how to feed off the opponent's crowd.
"We need to stack wins together. It's as simple as that. We realize we're going to have to improve on yesterday's performance to do that. Hopefully, we'll keep getting better and see some wins stacked together."