Texans Far Too Good for Colts to Overlook, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – A look at the tape helped the Colts remember.
At least, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said he hopes that's the case this week as they prepare for the second meeting of the season with AFC South rival Houston.
The tape in question?
That of a 31-27 victory over the Texans on October 5 of this season, a game in which the Colts turned in a historic rally to even their record at .500 and push the Texans to 0-4 and a game that Dungy said should help the Colts as they prepare this week.
The Colts have won 12 of 13 meetings with Houston.
They also have won two consecutive games against AFC division leaders.
Neither statistic matters this week, Dungy said. Not a bit.
"We had a chance to look at that first game," Dungy said Wednesday as the Colts (5-4) prepared to play the Texans (3-6) at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday at 1 p.m.
"If we were in any stages of complacency, I think our players looking at that game should take that out of us. . . . We have to continue to work, and see if we can play better than we have the last couple of weeks and defend our home turf."
The Colts, a playoff team the last six seasons, have won two consecutive games at Lucas Oil Stadium after losing their first two games there. After beating Baltimore, 31-3, on October 12, they lost two consecutive road games – at Green Bay and Tennessee – before beating AFC East-leading New England, 18-15, at home two weeks ago.
The Colts, who beat AFC North-leading Pittsburgh, 24-20, this past Sunday, never lost to Houston at the RCA Dome, the Colts' home field from 1984-2007.
"It's obviously a big game for us being back at home and trying to get on a three-game winning streak for the first time," Dungy said. "I think we'll have good work and good concentration and that's what we'll need."
The Colts scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:10 in the team's first meeting to rally from a 27-10 deficit with 4:04 remaining. No team in NFL history had rallied from a deficit so large with less than five minutes remaining to win in regulation.
"For the majority of that game, we really didn't play well," said Colts middle linebacker and defensive captain Gary Brackett, whose 68-yard return with a fumble by Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels was among the key plays of the Colts' rally in October.
"They're a team you definitely have to put away. They're very aggressive on offense. They have quite a few weapons. They can do a good job. The last four minutes was some of the best football I've seen that we played."
Rosenfels, the Texans' backup quarterback, started that game after starter Matt Schaub became ill the night before the game. Schaub will miss a second consecutive game Sunday with a knee injury, and Rosenfels will make his third start of the season.
"That was a little different, but I'm sure it wasn't easy on them for Schaub to practice all the week and get all the reps and then have the backup quarterback have to go in," Dungy said. "I can't say we had an advantage that way."
In other Colts news, Dungy said cornerback Kelvin Hayden attended meetings on Wednesday, and may work in practice this week but likely will not play Sunday.
Hayden, who started all last season and the first four games of the season, has missed the last five with knee and hamstring injuries.
"If by the end of the week he's had enough work and he feels good, we'll consider it," Dungy said. "My sense is it's probably going to be next week."
Dungy also said guard Ryan Lilja, who has spent the first nine games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, was expected to work in practice Wednesday.
"We'll see how he gets through it," Dungy said.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who sustained an ankle injury against Pittsburgh, likely will be held out of much of practice early in the week, Dungy said. Dungy said he expects Wayne, who hasn't missed a game since 2001 – his rookie season – to play Sunday.
"We're probably going to hold him out of a lot of stuff early in the week," Dungy said. "Hopefully, by Friday, we can get him going. I think he will be able to play and do fine. It's going to be tough practicing for him, but I think game day he'll be there."
Also on Wednesday, the Colts released their first injury reof the week, with wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (hamstring), safety Bob Sanders (not injury related/rested), cornerback Tim Jennings (not injury related/rested), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), cornerback Keiwan Ratliff (quadriceps), safety Antoine Bethea (ankle), linebacker Gary Brackett (not injury related/rested), wide receiver Roy Hall (knee), tight end Tom Santi (shoulder), wide receiver Reggie Wayne (ankle), defensive tackle Dan Muir (hamstring), defensive end Dwight Freeney (not injury related/rested) and defensive end Robert Mathis (foot) listed as not participating in practice.