Meeting a divisional foe for the first time this season and playing the first of three AFC South battles to conclude the regular season's final quarter, the Indianapolis Colts, 6-6, visit the Tennessee Titans, 5-7, on Thursday, December 9. Kickoff in LP Field for the contest, telecast by the NFL Network and broadcast nationwide by Westwood One, is 8:20 p.m. (EST)/7:20 p.m. (CST).
In addition to Thursday's game, the Colts and Titans will meet in Indianapolis on January 2 to conclude regular-season play. The Colts host Jacksonville on December 19 in the club's other divisional encounter, while Tennessee entertains Houston on the same day. The Colts (2003-07, 09) and Titans (2002, 08) own all of the divisional crowns since the 2002 Realignment, and both teams are engaged in a spirited chase with Houston (5-7) and Jacksonville (7-5) for the 2010 title. Indianapolis reaches this week's game after a 38-35 overtime loss last Sunday at home to Dallas. Tennessee dropped a 17-6 contest last week at home to Jacksonville. The other remaining divisional head-to-head meeting is Houston hosting Jacksonville on January 2. The AFC South is the only division with but two champions from 2002-present. Indianapolis can win the division by winning all its remaining games.
The Colts are owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (134-54) 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 79 of its last 101 regular-season games. The Colts own a 104-35 record (counting the playoffs) since the start of the 2003 season and are 90-30 since 2004. From November, 2003 to December, 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 39-12 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 120 of 149 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 club's nine playoff berths in the 2000-09 decade tied the NFL record set by Dallas (9) in the 1970s. Indianapolis is the only team since 2002 Realignment to earn annual double-digit victory totals and playoff berths. From 2008-09, the Colts set an NFL record with 23 consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08). The streak was 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. 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). Additionally, the Colts posted their eighth consecutive 10 -victory season, setting the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98). Indianapolis earned its seventh consecutive season with 11 victories, surpassing the NFL record it had shared with Dallas (6, 1976-81). The Colts extended their league mark to seven consecutive seasons (2003-09)with 12 victories. The Colts produced 115 victories for the 2000-09 decade, surpassing the league record of 113 by San Francisco from 1990-99.
PERSONNEL REPORT: DB-Bob Sanders (biceps) was out; RB-Joseph Addai (neck) was doubtful; LB-Gary Brackett (toe), WR-Austin Collie (concussion), TE-Brody Eldridge (rib), DB-Aaron Francisco (thigh), RB-Mike Hart (ankle), DB-Kelvin Hayden (neck), OT-Charlie Johnson (back), DT-Ricardo Mathews (back), DT-Dan Muir (hamstring), LB-Clint Session (elbow), DB-Justin Tryon (foot), WR-Reggie Wayne (knee) were questionable for the last game. Deactivated players for the last game were Collie, Hayden, Addai, Session, OG-Jacques McClendon, Mathews, OG-Jaimie Thomas and Sanders.
TELEVISION/RADIO: The NFL Network (aired locally on WXIN-TV) telecasts with Bob Papa, Matt Millen and Joe Theismann. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolfordand Kevin Lee (field reporter). Westwood One broadcasts nationally with Ian Eagle, Trent Green and Laura Okmin (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis hosts Jacksonville on Sunday, December 19 at 1:00 p.m. (EST).
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 ninth 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. From 2002-09, Caldwell has been a part of Colts teams that produced 10-6, 12-4, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, 13-3, 12-4 and 14-2 records. Indianapolis is the only team to earn 12 victories in seven consecutive seasons, setting the NFL's all-time standard. Indianapolis has had eight consecutive 10 -victory seasons, setting the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81), and the Colts have surpassed Dallas (1976-81) as the only franchise to earn at least eleven victories in seven consecutive seasons. The Colts also have earned an NFL-best eight consecutive playoff appearances, and Indianapolis is the only team to post double-digit victory seasons and playoff berths each season since the 2002 realignment. From 2008-09, Indianapolis set the NFL record with 23 consecutive regular-season victories (21 New England, 2006-08). Indianapolis also won 115 regular-season games from 2000-09, the most by a team in a decade in NFL history. From 2004-09, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to win at least seven consecutive games in six consecutive seasons (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009). In 2009, Caldwell became the 5th NFL rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl. Caldwell joined Chuck Knox (L.A. Rams, 1973), Red Miller (Denver, 1977), Mike Martz (St. Louis, 2000) and Josh McDaniels (Denver, 2009) as the only rookie head coaches in the Super Bowl era to start 6-0. He became the fourth coach ever to start 6-0 when succeeding a head coach who won 100 games (Blanton Collier, Cleveland, 1963, succeeded Paul Brown, 111 wins; Jack Pardee, Washington, 1978, succeeded George Allen, 116 wins; Josh McDaniels, Denver, 2009, succeeded Mike Shanahan, 146 wins; Caldwell, Colts, 2009, succeeded Tony Dungy, 139 wins). 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.
JEFF FISHER became the 15th head coach in franchise history on January 5, 1995. Fisher was elevated to head coach-defensive coordinator on November 14, 1994, and guided the 1-9 squad through the final six games of the season. His 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008 teams made the playoffs, with his 2002 and 2008 teams winning the AFC South. The Titans advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV following the 1999 season, dropping a 23-16 decision to St. Louis. Fisher joined the team as defensive coordinator for the 1994 season, after serving 1992-93 as DB Coach at San Francisco. He was defensive coordinator with the L.A. Rams in 1991. He served 1986-90 at Philadelphia, the final two years as coordinator. Fisher was a D7-81 pick of Chicago, playing 1981-85 as DB/KR. Fisher was a DB at USC 1977-80. He is a native of Culver City, Calif.
COLTS/TITANS SERIES NOTES
The Colts lead the regular-season series, 18-12, including two victories over Tennessee last season. The teams met in Lucas Oil Stadium on December 6, and Indianapolis tied the NFL record for most consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08) with a 27-17 win over the Titans. The Colts tallied on their first possession and produced 10 points in the final two minutes of the first half to earn the victory. QB-Peyton Manning was 24-37-270, 1 TD. WR-Reggie Wayne was 4-48 receiving, while WR-Pierre Garcon was 6-136. RB-Joseph Addai was 21-79, 2 TDs rushing (8t, 1t). The Indianapolis defense held on two red zone possessions of the Titans and forced a 20-yard field goal on another, while forcing two takeaways. The victory marked the seventh consecutive season the Colts won 12 games, extending their NFL record. Jim Caldwell became the only NFL rookie head coach to win his first 12 games. Indianapolis took a 31-9 decision in Nashville on October in last year's first meeting. Manning was 36-44-309, 3 TDs/1 int., while the defense held Tennessee to 90 rushing yards. The team split the meetings in 2008 by winning at home. On December 28, 2008, Indianapolis topped Tennessee, 23-0, to end the season with a nine-game winning streak. The club produced its first shutout since 1997. At 13-2 with the division clinched, the Titans rested selected starters. Manning was 7-7-95, 1 TD (55t) in abbreviated duty. The clubs met on October 27, 2008 in Nashville, as Tennessee overcame an eight-point second-half deficit by scoring 25 consecutive points to win, 31-21. The Colts and Titans battled to a 7-6 halftime count before the Colts took a 14-6 lead early in the second half. Tennessee countered by scoring on four consecutive possessions to gain the victory. QB-Kerry Collins was 24-37-193, while the Titans rushed for three scores. DB-Chris Hope had two interceptions for the game's only takeaways. Manning was 26-41-223, 2 TDs/ints. The Titans controlled the ball for 34 minutes.
The clubs split the meetings during the 2007 season, with each winning on the road. On December 30 of that season, in a game void of playoff significance for Indianapolis, the Colts dropped a 16-10 decision. Missing five starters and playing front-liners mostly through the first half, the Colts battled Tennessee, needing a win to gain a playoff berth, to a 10-10 tie through three quarters before falling. K-Rob Bironas scored the game's final nine points on field goals of 40, 54 and 33 yards to gain the win. The contest was the last regular-season game in the RCA Dome. In 2007's first meeting on September 16 in LP Field, the Colts tookthe lead midway through the opening period and never trailed in a contest that was not decided until the final seconds. The Colts topped Tennessee, 22-20. Indianapolis posted a 6-0 first-quarter lead and grew the margin to 19-6 in the second half before a final defensive stand as the clock expired spelled victory. Manning (28-42-312, 1 TD/int.) directed the club to 381 net yards behind a trio of receivers and a productive running game. WRs-Marvin Harrison (6-87) and Reggie Wayne (5-70) and Clark (7-69, 1 TD; 22t) had solid days, along with RB-Joseph Addai (20-81, 1 TD; 8t). The Indianapolis defense produced three sacks and two takeaways, led by DB-Bob Sanders (2.5 sacks). The teams split the series in 2006, with each club winning at home. Indianapolis triumphed on October 8, 14-13, and the Titans posted a 20-17 last-minute win on December 3. The Colts swept Tennessee in 2005, winning 31-10 in Nashville on October 2 and 35-3 in the RCA Dome on December 4. The Colts swept Tennessee in 2004. Indianapolis won, 31-17, in Nashville on September 19, then took a 51-24 decision at home on December 5. Indianapolis took both meetings in 2003. The Colts won at home on September 14, 33-7, then posted a 29-27 win in Nashville on December 7. The sweep by the Colts reversed Tennessee's sweep in 2002. The Titans won in Indianapolis, 23-15, and held service at home, 27-17. Tennessee owns the only playoff encounter between the clubs, earning a 19-16 win in Indianapolis on January 16, 2000 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.