Team's Focus Centered On The Challenge Ahead
INDIANAPOLIS – With the New England game in their rearview mirror, the Indianapolis Colts are focused in on their next challenge.
And a formidable one it is.
While some in the nation continue to discuss Sunday's 35-34 comeback victory, the Colts have centered their attention on the Baltimore Ravens, whom they will face this Sunday in a difficult conference road test.
"We moved on Monday afternoon," Colts tight end Dallas Clark said. "You have to move on and go to the next test. It was a good win, but it wasn't anything more than a win."
Linebacker Gary Brackett said the Colts are not having any trouble refocusing for what they know will be a tough battle.
"Not at all," Brackett said. "Like I said, last week it was game nine of 16. We are moving on, now it's Week 10. We've got Baltimore, a tough team who plays tough at their home field, and we have to go out and try and get an AFC victory."
With so many veterans in the locker room like Brackett and Clark, quarterback Peyton Manning said the team does not have any problems putting the last game behind them and moving on to the next.
"It's really not hard because you better have a good week of practice and a great week of preparation, mentally and physically, going into Baltimore," Manning said. "Its one of the toughest places to play."
The Ravens are 5-4 this season and an impressive 3-1 at home. Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said his team expects not only to see Baltimore's best Sunday, but their fans' as well.
"It's going to be just like what we've seen in every stadium, it'll be a fever-pitch sort of atmosphere," Caldwell said. "There's heightened enthusiasm. But that's also why our players play the game."
STOVER RETURNS TO BALTIMORE
After kicking in the city of Baltimore for 13 seasons, Colts kicker Matt Stover said he is looking forward to his homecoming Sunday.
The 20-year NFL veteran and his family still reside in Baltimore, but Stover said there is no question where his allegiance truly lies.
"It will be a great opportunity to go back and kick in front of the fans I've come to know and love," Stover said. "But now…I'm here with Indianapolis. I'm here, a Colt. And I'm here to win the game."
In four games with the Colts, Stover has done everything the team has asked him to do. The kicker is 6-of-6 on field-goal attempts and has converted all 13 extra point tries.
Caldwell described Stover as a "true professional."
"He's also a veteran who understands how to get prepared," the Colts coach said. "The example he sets in terms of his preparation is invaluable. He is very settled. He's not a guy you have to be concerned about."
Baltimore Head Coach John Harbaugh, who described Stover as one of his best friends, said the people of Baltimore are looking forward to seeing their former kicker.
"The Colts are very fortunate to have him," Harbaugh said. "He's a class act, he's a great person and he's a very good kicker."
COLTS CONTINUED SUCCESS ON BOTH SIDES
At 9-0 and winners of their last 18 regular-season games, it is safe to say the Colts are doing something right.
This year, they have been outstanding on both offense and defense.
No team in the NFL this season has passed for more yards, touchdowns or first downs than the Colts. In addition, no team is better at converting third downs (50 percent), and the Colts are allowing the fewest sacks per pass plays in the league.
On defense, the Colts continue to allow the fewest points in the league (15.8) and boast one of the best pass defenses, as well.
Safety Melvin Bullitt said surrendering the fewest points per game is a big source of pride for the team's defensive unit.
"It is huge. We just want to make sure we step up to the plate every time we get a chance and make sure we make plays when an opportunity presents itself," Bullitt said. Caldwell admits the Colts have been playing well this season, but said there is still a lot of work to be done.
"We better make certain that we stay on our toes and continue to try and get better," he said. "That's really important because (other teams are) trying to close the gap.
"All we have to do is look down the road to next Sunday and see who we're playing. That will crystallize your focus," Caldwell said. "It's an outstanding team in Baltimore. It's going to be a tough battle."
The Colts issued Thursday's injury report with WRs-Hank Baskett (illness) and Pierre Garcon (ankle) and LS-Justin Snow (elbow) listed as full participation in practice. Players listed as did not participate in practice included DBs-Antoine Bethea (foot), Aaron Francisco (ankle) and Kelvin Hayden (knee), WRs-Austin Collie (not injury related) and Anthony Gonzalez (knee), OT-Dan Federkeil (concussion), DT-Eric Foster (back), DE-Dwight Freeney (hip), TE-Gijon Robinson (concussion), QB-Jim Sorgi (right shoulder) and K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee).