INDIANAPOLIS – Monday was a 180 from how the Colts felt a week ago, when they returned from London with a loss and zero time to sulk knowing a game was coming six days later.
The Colts bounced back in Week Five with a 29-23 victory and will now try to build off that with consecutive divisional road games next on the slate.
On Monday, Chuck Pagano revealed the surprising injury to cornerback Darius Butler, the up-tempo pace the Colts used against Chicago and the improvements needed on defense.
- CB-Darius Butler (hamstring): Late in Sunday's game, Butler fractured a finger and is going to have surgery to insert a plate on Tuesday morning. Pagano said Butler's availability for this week is in jeopardy.
- OG/C-Jonotthan Harrison (appendectomy): Pagano said Harrison is feeling better, but isn't sure yet on his status for the rest of the week. Harrison has missed the last two weeks.
- ILB-Josh McNary (stinger): McNary, the team's new starting inside linebacker next to D'Qwell Jackson, had to leave Sunday's game early. Pagano said McNary should be okay for this week.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Pagano said Moncrief is progressing in the right direction, but is still "week-to-week." Moncrief is entering the fourth week of an injury that was expected to keep him out four-to-six weeks.
- CB-Patrick Robinson (knee, groin): Despite the injuries, Robinson did finish Sunday's game. Pagano is listing Robinson as "day-to-day."
Chuck Pagano on using more up-tempo against the Bears and how that might transpire going forward:
"We are going to go in and out of it based off the situation of the game."
Bowen's Analysis:* *The Colts found a bunch of success in using more offensive pace on Sunday. Scoring on all four first-half drives (the first time since 2014 that the Colts had done that) set up a much easier game flow for the offense. When the Colts did use the no-huddle tempo on Sunday, Andrew Luck got the offense to the line of scrimmage quickly, which forced Chicago to limit their substitutions and let the Indy offense dictate that side of the ball.
Going forward, don't expect the Colts to exclusively go up-tempo for entire games, but they obviously know that a very efficient start to a game came when they upped their pace. Pagano said the Colts will use the no-huddle in and out of a game with personnel (for both teams) largely depending on how frequent that tempo becomes.
Chuck Pagano on evaluating his defense from Sunday's win:
"You can't just give people things.
"There was a lot of stuff out there that they didn't have to work real hard for."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Chicago had 522 total yards of offense on Sunday. Pagano pointed to the big plays and lack of consistent play from the defensive unit as the major reason why the Bears put up rare numbers of production. The Indy defense did get the late stops with the game on the line. That, along with holding Chicago to three field goals, were the major reasons why the Colts escaped with a victory, even with the defense allowing more than 500 yards.
Pagano pulled out the "definition" of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again) when asked on Monday about defensive changes coming. Creating more pressure up front remains a focus for the Colts after a game with no sacks in 43 pass attempts.Chuck Pagano on the play of the offensive line through five weeks:
"It's got to be better."
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts gave up five sacks on Sunday. With a healthy offensive line, the Colts went with Denzelle Good at right guard and Joe Haeg at right tackle, moving veteran Joe Reitz to the bench. That appears to be the move they have settled on in getting their "best five" together up front, which is what Jim Irsay said was coming over in London.
Pagano does see improvements in the line play (i.e. in the run game), but mentioned that the communication up front needs to be better in pass protection, especially in handling stunts from defenses. On Sunday, the Colts will see a Houston defense sans J.J. Watt, but still a unit that is 8th in the NFL in sacks this season.