INDIANAPOLIS – Following the Colts Wild Card victory over the Bengals on Sunday afternoon, the look ahead to the Divisional Round was not far away.
Denver made a pair of their Pro Bowlers, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and defensive end Demarcus Ware, available to the media on Sunday afternoon.
Here are their thoughts on a rematch with the Colts:
WIDE RECEIVER DEMARYIUS THOMASOn his reaction to finding out the Broncos will face the Colts
"I was just waiting to see who we had to play. After watching last night's game I knew it was going to be either one of them (Indianapolis or Cincinnati). Either one, I was going to be ready to play. It's the Colts and now we have to prepare for the Colts and that is all it really comes down to. It's playoffs and its win or go home. They are going to come in and play hard and we have to do the same thing and try to keep going."
On how QB Peyton Manning is going to handle the hype of facing his former team
"I think Peyton's been doing fine. I don't know if it's about hype; I know it's just another playoff game. I can't answer that question for him but I think he'll be fine. We had them the first game of the season and he was fine. It's a playoff game so it's a little bit different because if you lose, you're done and if you win, you keep going. I can't really talk for Peyton but I think he's fine."
On if he expects Colts to play differently than their game against them in September
"I can't really say. I'm pretty sure that they will do something different. It'll just depend on who all is playing. They have a couple guys out and we have a couple guys out so I feel like it's going to be a new game. A new game, a different team—they are the same people, coordinators and coach, but they have new players playing. You can never say until game time."
On how big the bye week was for him and other players to rest
"It was real big. A couple guys on the team were banged up. Some guys needed some rest with the injuries they had. Of course, myself with my ankle. It was big to get this week out of the way with some rest and now get back to business. Some guys are feeling better that is the benefit of having a bye week off. It was real big."
On the Colts' defense
"They have playmakers all over the field. I think the main thing is watching the game today and how the Bengals couldn't get points. It's a lot of blitzes that they disguise well and I think we have to pick that up well and be able to convert on negative third downs to move the ball and try to put some points up. They try to get to the quarterback to interrupt the whole game and if they can do that, they can do stuff."
On how nice is it to have WR Wes Welker back against the Colts in the slot position
"It's great. I tried to play the slot [in Week 1] and it wasn't for me that early in the season. Having him back is good because he is one of the best that does it and having him, you never know what defense they will play because they will have to watch everybody. Hopefully we will have [TE] Julius [Thomas] there healthy. It's good to have Wes back and I can be back outside and try to do my best to play my best for the team and have a big impact on the game."
DEFENSIVE END DEMARCUS WAREOn facing the Indianapolis Colts next week
"I just think with the bye week you have more time to prepare and get ahead of the game. You've just got to look at every game as you never know what team you're going to get and it's in the playoffs. It's do-or-die. You've just got to get out there and prepare just like it's any other week."
On the Colts now compared to Week 1
"It's still the same quarterback. They prepared really well this whole season. That lets you know that they're a really good opponent and someone we have to prepare for."
On Colts QB Andrew Luck
"He's one of those guys that you have to play a 60-minute game against. He has really good pocket awareness. He's always one of those guys, just like [QB] Peyton [Manning], where he hits the open guy the majority of the time. He plays a fundamentally sound game. He's one of those quarterbacks you don't want to go against, but you have to make sure you get pressure on him and make him one-dimensional."
On using information from Week 1 to help prepare for this game
"I think you've got to go back and see what you did well. If you played against one of those guys that were on there—let's say a tackle or a guard or whatever—as a defensive lineman, you're going to stay the same. You've also got to see how and where you didn't play well and make sure those things are corrected before the game. You know they're going to go in and say, 'Hey, they didn't do this well' or 'This is where we can attack them,' so it's like a chess match. You've got to make sure you have your Kings and all the other guys in the right spot to make sure you play the game."
On the importance of getting S T.J. Ward and LB Brandon Marshall healthy and back for the game against Indianapolis
"We've got guys that are filling their shoes right now, and they're playing really well. Just to have that leadership come back and have those guys come back and play is something that we need, especially just from a leadership standpoint but also having guys come back that are big playmakers for us."