Colts Pull to Within Two Games of Idle Tennessee in AFC South
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts did more than win their first home game of the season Sunday, and they did more than attain their first winning streak of the season, too.
Specifically, they accomplished another significant "first."
The Colts, the five-time defending AFC South champions and a playoff team the past six seasons, beat the Baltimore Ravens, 31-3, at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday for their second consecutive victory, and in so doing, they moved closer to the AFC South lead for the first time this season.
With the victory, Indianapolis (3-2) moved a half-game closer to AFC South-leading Tennessee (5-0). The Titans were idle this past week.
The Colts, who won the last three division titles by leading the South from the beginning of the season to the end, had either lost ground or gained none in each of the first six weeks of the season.
They fell a game behind Tennessee in Week 1 by losing to Chicago, then slipped two games behind with a Week 3 loss to Jacksonville. The Titans continued to win during the Colts' Week 4 bye week and were two-and-a-half games ahead of the second-place Colts entering this weekend.
Before this season, the Colts never had been more than a game out of first place in the South since the division's 2002 inception.
The Colts will visit Tennessee on Monday, October 29.
The Titans play at Kansas City (1-4) Sunday, the same day the Colts visit the Green Bay Packers (3-3).
The Colts now are among six teams in the AFC with records of .500 or better, and they are a within a game of every team in the conference except Tennessee.
A look at the rest of the AFC South and AFC:
Tennessee Titans (5-0)
Last week: The Titans were idle Sunday.
Next week: At Kansas City (1-4) Sunday.
Recent trend: The Titans are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history, and have won a league-best eight consecutive regular-season games. They won four games in September for the second time in franchise history.
What happened Sunday: The Titans were idle Sunday.
Statistically speaking: The Titans have allowed 17 or fewer points in nine consecutive games.
Coming up: The Titans play at Kansas City (1-4) on October 19 and play host to Indianapolis (3-2) on Monday, October 27. They play host to Green Bay (3-3) and visit Chicago (3-3) the following two weeks.
Quote to note: "We're by no means where we should be as a football team. But in the meantime the bye is designed to get better, take care of yourself, rest up, make good decisions while you're gone and come back ready to win the next ball game. In the back of your mind, the most imant thing should be Win No. 6."
--- Titans Linebacker Keith Bulluck
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)
Last week: The Jaguars beat the Denver Broncos, 24-17, at INVESCO Field in Denver, Colo., Sunday.
Next week: The Jaguars are idle this week.
Recent trend: The Jaguars, after losing their first two games, have won three of their last four games – with the only loss to Pittsburgh in Jacksonville on Sunday Night Football a week ago. Jacksonville on Sunday became just the third team since 1999 to win games in Denver in back-to-back seasons.
What happened Sunday: Balanced offensively and opportunistic defensively, the Jaguars scored 14 third-quarter points to take a 24-10 lead in Denver, then held off a late Broncos rally to even their record on the season. The Jaguars forced three Broncos turnovers, all of which came in the first half and led to 10 Jacksonville points.
Statistically speaking: Quarterback David Garrard completed 25 of 34 passes for 276 yards and running back Maurice Jones-Drew – following an injury to 11-year veteran and 2007 Pro Bowl selection Fred Taylor – rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Jacksonville's defense forced three turnovers
Coming up: The Jaguars are off this week, then play host to Cleveland (1-3) the following week. They visit Cincinnati (0-6) and Detroit (0-5) the following two weeks before playing host to division-leading Tennessee (5-0) on November 16.
Quote to note: "This game today looked exactly like Jaguar football and it was good to get back to it. To come into somebody's house, and to have done it last year, too, to come back knowing they want our blood, the way this team fought today was awesome."
-- Jaguars Quarterback David Garrard
Houston Texans (1-4)
Last week: The Texans beat the Miami Dolphins, 29-28, at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sunday.
Next week: Home against Detroit (0-5).
Recent trend: The Texans, who are now 4-0 in franchise history against the Dolphins, averted the second 0-5 start in franchise history on Sunday. They started 0-6 in 2005. Also, Texans defensive end Mario Williams had two sacks, his second consecutive two-sack game.
What happened Sunday: The Texans, a week after squandering a 17-point lead and losing to the Colts (31-27), rallied from a 28-23 deficit to beat Miami on Sunday. Quarterback Matt Schaub scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard touchdown run with three seconds remaining.
Statistically speaking: Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, after being booed after an early interception, completed 22 of 42 passes for 379 yards – his second consecutive 300-yard game – and a touchdown. Houston produced a franchise-record 485 yards, and wide receiver Andre Johnson had a franchise-record 178 yards receiving and also had a touchdown.
Coming up: The Texans, after splitting home games the past two weeks, will play home games the next two weeks against Detroit (0-5) and Cincinnati (0-6) – to complete a rare stretch of four consecutive home games.
Quote to note: "That's part of being a quarterback. You get your butt booed in the first quarter and you come back and win the game in the fourth."
--- Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Buffalo (4-1): The Bills were idle this past week.
New England (3-2): After a 2-0 start, and after going undefeated last regular season, the Patriots have lost two of their last three games by a total of 45 points. They lost to the Dolphins, 38-13, in Week 3, then lost to the San Diego Chargers, 30-10, on Sunday night. New England allowed the Chargers 404 total yards and trailed 30-3 before a late touchdown. They have lost two games in a season by 20 or more points for the first time under Head Coach Bill Belichick, hired in 2000.
New York Jets (3-2): A solid season in the first year with Brett Favre starting at quarterback continued Sunday. The Jets won four games last season, and on Sunday, won for a third time in five games this season. The Jets, despite committing three turnovers, maintained possession for 35:18 on Sunday and held Cincinnati to 171 total yards. Favre completed 25 of 33 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Miami (2-3): The Dolphins, after winning just one game last season, were within seconds of winning for a third time in five games Sunday. They led the Houston Texans by five, 28-23, before Texans quarterback Matt Schaub scored on a three-yard touchdown run with three seconds remaining. "This one's pretty frustrating for a lot of reasons,'' Dolphins defensive end Vonnie Holliday said. "You're in this game, made some big plays defensively, created some turnovers. What an opportunity that was lost today. Is it the end of the season? No."
Pittsburgh (4-1): The Steelers were idle this past week.
Baltimore (2-3): After victories over the Bengals and Browns in the first two games, the Ravens have lost their last three games. They lost late leads in Weeks 4 and 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, then lost to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. The Ravens fell behind Indianapolis, 24-0 at halftime, committing five turnovers with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco throwing three interceptions.
Cleveland (1-3): The Browns play host to the New York Giants Monday night.
Cincinnati (0-6): A difficult season for the Bengals continues. They slipped to 0-6 for the first time since 2000, rushing for 43 yards on 21 carries in a 26-14 loss to the New York Jets Sunday. Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, starting in place of former Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer for a second time in three games, completed 20 of 33 passes for 152 yards. Cincinnati squandered leads of 7-0 and 14-10.
Denver (4-2): A year after missing the playoffs, the Broncos lead the AFC West by a game, but lost a game in the standings on Sunday. Hours before the San Diego Chargers beat New England in San Diego to move to within a game of first place, the Broncos allowed the Jaguars 416 total yards while committing three turnovers in a 24-17 loss. Broncos running back Michael Pittman rushed for 109 yards on 20 carries and quarterback Jay Cutler completed 21 of 37 passes for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
San Diego (3-3): Before Sunday, the Chargers had lost three consecutive games to defending AFC Champion New England, including losses in the playoffs each of the last two seasons. The Chargers took a 17-3 lead on New England at halftime Sunday, then extended that lead to 30-3 en route to a 30-10 victory. The Chargers held the Patriots to their lowest point total since 2006. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson became the 17th player in NFL history to rush for more than 11,000 yards in his career.
Oakland (1-4): The Raiders recently changed head coaches, firing Lane Kiffin and hiring Tom Cable, but the results stayed the same. Oakland on Sunday lost, 34-3, to the New Orleans Saints, allowing Saints quarterback Drew Brees to 87 percent of his passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints held Oakland to 226 total yards. Cable became the third coach in the last four Raiders head coaches to lose his debut with the team.
Kansas City (1-4): The Chiefs were idle this past week.