DATE: Sunday, January 3, 2010
SITE: Ralph Wilson Stadium
KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Drawing a close to the 2000 decade at the site where it started, the Indianapolis Colts, 14-1, visit the Buffalo Bills, 5-10, on Sunday, January 3. Kickoff for the contest at Ralph Wilson Stadium, telecast by CBS Sports, is 1:00 p.m. (EST).
The Colts and Bills opened the decade of 2000-09 on January 2, 2000 at this site. Buffalo gained a season-ending victory that touched off a decade that saw Indianapolis amass 115 victories, the most ever accomplished by a franchise in NFL history.
Indianapolis reaches Sunday's game after a 29-15 loss last week at home to the New York Jets. Buffalo dropped a 31-3 decision last Sunday at Atlanta. Buffalo owns a 34-30-1 series edge, with all but two of those contests waged when the clubs were AFC East Division mates from 1970-2001. The Colts own two victories since the 2002 Realignment and will be making their first trip to Buffalo since the 2003 season.
The loss to New York ended the sixth 10 -game regular-season winning streak in franchise history (23, 2008-09; 13, 2005; 11, 1964; 11, 1975-76; 11, 1999; 10, 2005-06), the fourth since 1999. The Colts (23) set the NFL record for the most consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08). Indianapolis also is assured the AFC's top playoff seed. Last week's outcome ended the finest seasonal start in franchise history. The 14-0 start marked the 3rd in league history (16-0, New England, 2007; 14-0, Miami, 1972). The 13-0 start had been the second one for the club in the past five seasons (13-0, 2005). The Colts had been the only team ever to have three 9-0 starts in a five-year span (also 9-0 in 2006). Jim Caldwell is the only NFL rookie head coach to win his first 14 games in a season, surpassing Potsy Clark (8, Portsmouth, 1931), and he surpassed Wally Lemm (10, 1961 Houston Oilers-1962 St. Louis Cardinals) for the most consecutive wins to start a career. Caldwell also has become the 2nd rookie head coach since the 1978 NFL move to a 16-game season to win 14 games (George Seifert, SF, 1989). Earlier this season, Indianapolis extended its NFL record as the only franchise to win seven or more consecutive regular-season games in six consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009).
The club has extended its franchise record to 11 consecutive road wins. Indianapolis had its franchise-record 13-game home winning streak ended last week. Additionally, the Colts have posted their eighth consecutive 10 -victory season, setting the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). Indianapolis has earned its seventh consecutive season with 11 victories, surpassing the NFL record it had shared with Dallas (6, 1976-81). The Colts have extended their league mark to seven consecutive seasons (2003-09) with 12 victories. The Colts now have 115 victories for the 2000-09 decade, surpassing the league record of 113 by San Francisco from 1990-99.
The Colts are owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (128-47) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn 10 playoff appearances in the last eleven seasons, including a league-best eight consecutive post-season berths. Indianapolis has won 73 of its last 88 regular-season games. From November 16, 2003 to December 13, 2009, the Colts produced a regular-season record of 81-19, tying New England (2003-09) for the NFL's best 100-game regular-season mark. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 38-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 110 of 134 weeks of the division's existence. The Colts won five AFC South championships from 2003-07, the best divisional-title streak in club history. The Colts were wire-to-wire divisional leaders during the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons. The Colts have six division crowns this decade, two short of the NFL record set by Minnesota (8) in the 1970s. The club's nine playoff berths this decade ties the NFL record set by Dallas (9) in the 1970s. The Colts clinched the 2009 AFC South crown on November 29, joining San Francisco (1997), Philadelphia (2004) and New England (2007) as the only teams since 1990 to clinch their divisions by the 11th game of the season. Indianapolis is the only team since 2002 Realignment to earn annual double-digit victory totals and playoff berths.
PERSONNEL REPORT: DT-Keyunta Dawson (knee), WR-Pierre Garcon (hand), DB-Jerraud Powers (hamstring) were out;
OT-Charlie Johnson (foot), LB-Clint Session (knee) were doubful; DB-Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), DE-Dwight Freeney (abdomen), DE-Robert Mathis (quadriceps), K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee) were questionable; RB-Joseph Addai (personal), DB-Antoine Bethea (foot), LB-Gary Brackett (foot), DB-Donald Brown (chest), OT-Ryan Diem (foot), DB-Aaron Francisco (ankle), RB-Mike Hart (ankle), DB-Tim Jennings (ankle), DB-Jacob Lacey (biceps), QB-Peyton Manning (glute), OG-Jamey Richard (shoulder), RB-Chad Simpson (chest), WR-Reggie Wayne (foot) were probable for the last game. Last game's inactive players were: K-Matt Stover, Powers, Session, Johnson, Garcon, Dawson, Mathis and QB-Drew Willy.
TELEVISION/RADIO: CBS Sports telecasts with Bill Macatee and Steve Beuerlein. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolford and Kevin Lee (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis observes an open week before hosting a Divisional Playoff game on the weekend of January 16-17.
**WWW.COLTS.COM**: Please check the official website of the Indianapolis Colts for the latest in team information and merchandise.
JIM CALDWELL was named head coach of the Colts on January 13, 2009, and this marks his eighth season with Indianapolis. Caldwell joined the club in 2002 as quarterbacks coach before adding the title of assistant head coach prior to the 2005 season. Caldwell was promoted to associate head coach with the club prior to the 2008 season. The club's offense has produced levels prolific enough during Caldwell's tenure to allow the club to earn an NFL-best eight consecutive playoff appearances. The club has earned 10 victories in eight consecutive seasons, setting the second-longest NFL streak (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). The Colts have earned their seventh consecutive season with 11 victories, surpassing the league mark they had shared with Dallas (1976-81). The club's seven consecutive 12 -victory seasons (2003-09) set the NFL's all-time standard. Caldwell has become the 2nd rookie head coach since the 1978 NFL move to a 16-game season to win 14/15 games (14, George Seifert, SF, 1989). Caldwell is the only NFL rookie head coach to win his first 14 games in a season, surpassing Potsy Clark (8, Portsmouth, 1931), and he surpassed Wally Lemm (10, 1961 Houston Oilers-1962 St. Louis Cardinals) for the most consecutive wins to start a career. From 2004-09, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to earn winning streaks of at least seven games in six consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009). Caldwell joined the Colts after serving as quarterbacks coach with Tampa Bay in 2001. Caldwell has more than 20 years of collegiate coaching experience. He spent 1993-2000 as head coach at Wake Forest. He served as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois (1978-80), Northwestern (1981), Colorado (1982-84), Louisville (1985) and Penn State (1986-92). Caldwell has coached in six bowl games and won a national championship with Penn State in 1986. In addition to serving on Joe Paterno's title staff, Caldwell tutored under three other coaches who won collegiate crowns (Rey Dempsey, Southern Illinois; Bill McCartney, Colorado; Howard Schnellenberger, Louisville). Caldwell was a four-year starter at defensive back at Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant for Iowa in 1977. He holds a bachelor's degree from Iowa. Caldwell was born on January 16, 1955 in Beloit, Wis.
PERRY FEWELL was named interim head coach of the Bills on November 17, 2009. Fewell is in his fourth season with Buffalo. He joined the club in 2006 as defensive coordinator, and he has helped the club establish a firm defensive identity. Fewell served 1998-02 with Jacksonville as secondary coach. He moved to St. Louis from 2003-04 and to Chicago in 2005 in the same capacity. Fewell coached collegiately at North Carolina, Army, Kent State and Vanderbilt. He played DB at Lenoir-Rhyne 1981-84. Fewell is a native of Belmont, N.C.
COLTS/BILLS SERIES NOTES
The Bills own a 34-30-1 edge in a series that dates back to 1970, when the teams were placed in the AFC East. The teams were twice-a-season combatants until the NFL realigned prior to the 2002 season. The Colts have won the past six meetings, their series-longest winning streak. In the last series meeting on November 12, 2006, Indianapolis topped Buffalo, 17-16, at home to become the only team in NFL history to open consecutive seasons with 9-0 starts. QB-Peyton Manning (27-39-236, 1 TD) directed an offensive attack that included RBs-Joseph Addai (13-78, 1 TD; 5t) and Dominic Rhodes (14-72) having productive rushing efforts. Manning hit WR-Reggie Wayne on a 1t toss to open the club's scoring. Buffalo squared matters, 10-10, with a 68t fumble return just prior to the half. K-Rian Lindell hit field goald of 22, 30 and 43 yards, but his 41-yard miss with 6:22 left gave the Colts a possession the club used to extinguish the clock. The teams last battled in Orchard Park on November 23, 2003. A 14-point fourth-quarter rally erased an eleven-point deficit as the Colts earned a 17-14 win over the Bills. Manning (26-42-229) directed scoring drives of 61 and 83 yards that ended with RB-Edgerrin James (28-108, 2 TDs rushing; 14t, 1t) scoring runs. The final one came on fourth down with 1:38 left. The Indianapolis defense allowed 228 net yards and kept Buffalo in check throughout the game. LB-David Thornton's interception in the final minute sealed the win. Indianapolis topped the Bills twice in 2001, winning at the RCA Dome on September 23, 42-26, and at Orchard Park on November 11, 30-14. In the second meeting that year, rookie FA RB-Dominic Rhodes (34-100 rushing) and Manning (17-27-199, 1 TD, 33t rushing) spearheaded an offensive attack that was complemented by K-Mike Vanderjagt's three FGs (34, 41, 47 yards) and a defense that limited Buffalo to 232 yards while producing six sacks. Manning hit TE-Marcus Pollard on a 15t pass, then scored on a 33t rush to give the Colts a lead they would never relinquish. Rhodes became the fifth club rookie to amass 100 rushing yards in a starting debut. The Colts defense leveled QB-Rob Johnson six times and did not allow an offensive touchdown until 3:39 remained in the game. In the season's first meeting, the Colts rolled to 555 net yards and scored TDs on six straight possessions in earning a 42-26 win. Manning was 23-29-421, 4 TDs/2 ints., while WRs-Marvin Harrison (7-146, 3 TDS) and Jerome Pathon (9-168, 1 TD) and James (23-111, 1 TD rushing/4-48 receiving) had big days. James set a franchise record with his fifth consecutive 100 rushing game. Buffalo's last series win came on January 2, 2000, a 31-6 home win.
COLTS ARE NFL'S WINNINGEST TEAM FROM 1999-2009: The Colts stand as the NFL's winningest team since the start of the 1999 season. The Colts own a 128-47 record during that span.