GETTING IT DONE
Following the Colts' 19-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium, Gary Brackett said the defense did not feel like it was where it wanted to be after the first quarter of the season.
But after holding the Chiefs to three field goals and allowing just 1-of-10 third-down conversions, Brackett, the Colts' defensive captain and eighth-year veteran linebacker, said he was satisfied with how his unit played today.
"Obviously, the last couple of weeks, I don't think we played to our ability," Brackett said. "I think we all thought we could play better, and I think we went out there and got it done today.
"Anytime you can hold those guys to field goals or attempts, as they missed that last one, that is huge. Obviously, our offense puts some points on the board, and to hold a team to nine points is huge and gives us a good chance to win."
Indianapolis forced Kansas City into four three-and-outs to go along with the 10 percent third-down percentage, factors not lost on safety Antoine Bethea, whose hit on the Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles caused a second-quarter fumble.
"It makes a huge difference getting them off the field and getting our offense back on the field," Bethea said. "It just drives a dagger in their heart as well. Even the three-and-outs we had were huge for us. Third-down conversions are one of the biggest stats in the league."
Kansas City entered Sunday averaging 322 yards per game, including 160 on the ground, and the Colts defense limited the Chiefs to 261 Sunday, allowing 113 on the ground and 148 through the air.
Most importantly, the Colts kept the Chiefs from the end zone, the first time Indianapolis has held its opponent to no touchdowns since last November 22, at Baltimore.
"It helped build our confidence," Bethea said. "We have a lot of great players on that side of the ball, and we just have to stay consistent. That's what we've been talking about. Next week we have to come out and build on this. Next week we can't go back down. We have high expectations on that side of the ball, and we just have to do what we do."
"HARD WORK PAYS OFF"
Colts' running back Mike Hart tallied a career day against the Chiefs on Sunday, scoring the game's only touchdown. Hart carried 11 times for 50 yards, both career-highs for the third-year back.
"Mike did a nice job for us," Caldwell said. "He came through, battled a couple of injuries during the course of the week, came in and certainly gave a heck of an effort to get the ball in the end zone."
Hart, like many Colts, was grateful for the opportunity to fill in when his number was called.
"It was fun, you know," Hart said. "You wait a long time to get your opportunity, and obviously you do not want to get an opportunity like that with Joe (Addai) going down. The line did a great job blocking, we moved the ball well, and I got my chance down there at the 10-yard line."
Hart's touchdown, with 4:02 remaining in the game, gave the Colts a 19-9 lead, the game's final score.
"The line did a great job blocking on that play," Hart said. "I got to the secondary, and that's my job to make them miss or run them over. They took care of the front seven, and it was my job to try to get in the end zone after that.
"Hard work pays off. It has been a long, hard week. I'm just happy to get out there and actually contribute to the team and really feel like a part of it."
"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR ROLE IS"
With the Colts' high-powered offense, it is usually a very rare occasion that kicker Adam Vinatieri takes center stage as a game's primary scorer, but that is exactly what happened against the Chiefs on Sunday.
Vinatieri scored 13 of the Colts' 19 points on four field goals and an extra point, but the effort was nothing new to the 15-year veteran who hit from 20, 24, 47 and 42 yards.
"If you are a practice squad guy and you are helping during the week getting guys prepared, or if you are number 18 or number 29, it doesn't matter what your role is, you just have to go out there and do your job, and today I felt like I was out there a bunch and helped contribute to the win," Vinatieri said. "When you can go out there and put some points up and keep them behind us and kind of chasing us, it's a good thing."
Vinatieri came one field goal short of tying his career-high of five in one game set against Jacksonville in 1996 and Buffalo in 2004. He fell four short of his career-best in points which is 17, coming against Buffalo in 2004.
It marked Vinatieri's first four field-goal game since November 16, 2008, when he hit four field goals against Houston.