Colts Holds St. Louis to Just Six Points in Dominant Victory
It was exactly the type of game the Indianapolis Colts wanted to play Sunday.
Coming off their bye week, the Colts turned in a complete performance against the St. Louis Rams. The offense picked up where it left off, the defense turned in another dominant showing, and the special teams units were on point, as the Colts cruised to victory, 42-6.
The win moves the Colts to 6-0 and extends the team's regular-season winning streak to 15 games, the longest in club history and the current longest streak in the NFL. The Colts have also now won eight consecutive games on the road, also a franchise-best.
"Anytime you can get a road win in this league is big," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "No matter who you are playing against, all those teams have a great chance of beating you when you travel to foreign territory."
With the offense scoring three touchdowns in the first half, the defense was able to tee off on the struggling Rams, who now have lost 17 straight games.
Defensive end Dwight Freeney registered one of three Colts sacks on the day, extending his consecutive games streak with a sack to seven, the second-longest streak in Colts history behind Robert Mathis' streak of eight games in 2005.
Safety Antoine Bethea led the way for the defense with eight tackles and third-year defensive tackle Dan Muir, in his first start as a Colt, finished with seven tackles and picked up half a sack.
"We are playing really well together," Freeney said. "The secondary, the linebackers, the defensive line, it's like a functioning wave. We are playing off each other and we have a lot of confidence right now.
"When you have all three phases working the way they are, it is going to be tough, it is going to be very tough to beat us."
The Rams converted just four of 13 attempts on third down and failed on fourth down twice. For the second straight road game, the Colts did not allow a touchdown, surrendering just two field goals all game to the Rams.
St. Louis running back Steven Jackson ran for a season-high 134 yards, but the Colts defense allowed only 117 yards through the air and intercepted Rams quarterback Marc Bulger twice.
The first pick came at the hands of rookie defensive back Jacob Lacey, who intercepted a Bulger pass late in the third quarter and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
"Anytime you get an interception it is a big thrill, but when you get a chance to return it for a score, it is the best feeling you can accomplish as a corner," Lacey said.
It was the first interception of the undrafted rookie's young career, but the defensive back has been making plays for quite some time now, according to his coach.
"He's been one of those guys, from the first day he walked on the playing field he showed he has some gifts and ability," Caldwell said. "He can run and cover, and he obviously has ball skills as well. But he's been doing a lot of these things for a while; we've been seeing him do this in practice long before you saw him on the field."
The game's other interception came in the fourth quarter when starting cornerback Kelvin Hayden picked off a fourth-down attempt of Bugler's at the one-yard line.
Sunday marked Hayden's first game since Week 2 and also served as Colts safety Bob Sanders' 2009 debut.
The 2007 Defensive Player-of-the-Year started at safety and made several big plays in his return, including a physical tackle of Jackson at the line-of-scrimmage in the first quarter.
"It felt good," Sanders said of being back. "I made some cuts out there I wasn't quite sure about going into the game, but this is my first game even having contact since last year, so I felt like I did okay."
Sanders said team doctors gave him the thumbs up after the game and said everything about his knee looked good.
"Which is exciting, since it's been a long time since I played a game and not had swelling," he said.
The Colts now return to Indianapolis for a three-game homestand, their first in the regular season since 1999. They will host the San Francisco 49ers next week, followed by the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots.
Freeney said the team is happy with the way it is playing, but doesn't want to become complacent or too relaxed over the three-game stretch.
"We are the hunters, and we go out and try and establish that from the first snap," he said. "We've been here before, we've been 13-0 and this-and-0, and so we know how to do this.
"We are going to keep the momentum going and go out there and play every game like it is our last."