DATE: Sunday, December 27, 2009
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 4:15 p.m. (EST)
The Indianapolis Colts, 14-0, close the home portion of the 2009 regular season by hosting the New York Jets, 7-7, on Sunday, December 27. Kickoff for the contest, telecast by CBS Sports, is 4:15 p.m. (EST). Sports USA will provide national radio coverage of the game.
The Colts and Jets meet for the 68th time overall, and for the first time since the 2006 season. Indianapolis owns a 40-25 edge in the league series, and the Jets have two post-season victories over the Colts. The teams were division mates in the AFC East from 1970-2001, and this is the second regular-season series renewal since the 2002 NFL Realignment. Indianapolis took the last meeting on October 1, 2006 at New York, 31-28. Indianapolis reaches Sunday's battle after a 35-31 comeback victory last Thursday at Jacksonville. It marked the club's seventh fourth-quarter comeback win of the season, the most in a season by a team since the 1970 Merger. New York dropped a 10-7 decision last Sunday at home to Atlanta.
The victory at Jacksonville extended 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 have surpassed New England (21, 2006-08) to set the NFL record for the most consecutive regular-season victories. Indianapolis also is assured the AFC's top playoff seed. Last week's victory provided the Colts with finest seasonal start in franchise history. 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). It marks only the 3rd 14-0 start in league history (16-0, New England, 2007; 14-0, Miami, 1972; 14-0, Colts, 2009). 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 has won its last 13 home games, a franchise record. 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 (128-46) 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 87 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 109 of 133 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: RB-Donald Brown (chest), DB-Aaron Francisco (ankle), WR-Anthony Gonzalez (knee), DB-Jerraud Powers, K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee) were out; DT-Eric Foster (back), DE-Dwight Freeney (abdomen), OT-Charlie Johnson (foot), DE-Robert Mathis (quadriceps) were questionable; RB-Joseph Addai (knee), DB-Antoine Bethea (foot), LB-Gary Brackett (foot), DE-Raheem Brock (back), DB-Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), DT-Keyunta Dawson (knee), OG-Kyle DeVan (shin), OT-Ryan Diem (hamstring), WR-Pierre Garcon (knee), DB-Kelvin Hayden (knee), DB-Tim Jennings (ankle), DB-Jacob Lacey (biceps), QB-Peyton Manning (glute), DT-Dan Muir (hamstring), DB-Jerraud Powers (hamstring), OG-Jamey Richard (shoulder), TE-Tom Santi (hand), LB-Clint Session (calf), RB-Chad Simpson (back), OT-Tony Ugoh (hip), WR-Reggie Wayne (foot) were probable for the last game.
Last game's inactive players were: Vinatieri, Gonzalez, Brown, Francisco, Powers, OT-Michael Toudouze, TE-Tom Santi and DE-Ervin Baldwin.
TELEVISION/RADIO: CBS Sports telecasts with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolford and Kevin Lee (field reporter). Sports USA broadcasts nationally Larry Kahn, Ross Tucker and Troy West (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Buffalo on Sunday, January 3 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 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 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.
REX RYAN became the 15th head coach of the New York Jets on January 19, 2009. Ryan spent the previous 10 seasons with Baltimore, the most recent as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. He served 1999-2004 as defensive line coach before being promoted to coordinator in 2005. Ryan's initial NFL stint was 1994-95 with Arizona. He served collegiately at Eastern Kentucky 1987-88, New Mexico Highlands 1989, Morehead State 1990-93, Cincinnati 1996-97 and Oklahoma 1998. Ryan played DE at Southwestern Oklahoma State. He is a native of Ardmore, Okla.
COLTS/JETS SERIES NOTES
The Colts own a 40-25 regular season series edge over the Jets, while the Jets are 2-0 against the Colts in the playoffs. The teams last met on October 1, 2006, when the Colts took a 31-28 victory at the Meadowlands. QB-Peyton Manning (21-30-217, 1 TD) led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, keeping for the winning score from one-yard out in the final minute, as the Colts produced a comeback victory. Indianapolis scored 2:32 into the contest, but fell behind, 14-7, before forging a 14-14 halftime tie in a contest that would eventually feature a furious finish. The Jets squandered a scoring opportunity following a long third-third quarter drive, and the Colts took a 17-14 lead early in the final period. The Jets re-gained the lead, 21-17, before Manning concluded a 12-play, 68-yard drive with a 2t pass to TE-Bryan Fletcher with 2:34 to go. KOR-Justin Miller returned the ensuing kickoff 103 yards for a score as the Jets re-took the lead, 28-24, with 2:20 left. Manning drove the club 61 yards on nine plays, the final being a 1t sneak with :50 left for the winning score. He became the first quarterback in Colts history with a game-winning TD run in the final minute of a game. In the last series renewal in Indianapolis, the Colts took a 38-31 home decision over the Jets on November 16, 2003. Missing five starters with injuries, Manning (27-36-401, 1 TD), RB-Edgerrin James (36-127, 3 TDs rushing/6-33 receiving), WRs-Reggie Wayne (9-141) and Troy Walters (4-88, 1 TD) and TE-Dallas Clark (5-100) produced big days as the Colts posted the win. P-Hunter Smith tallied on a 21t rush and the Colts defense produced three sacks. Tony Dungy became the only NFL head coach to defeat all 32 teams. The last Jets win over the Colts was a 41-0 triumph on January 4, 2003 in the AFC Wild Card playoffs. In that contest, the Jets bolted to a 24-0 halftime lead and added 17 second-half points. QB-Chad Pennington (19-25-222, 3 TDs) hit three different players with TD passes, while RB-LaMont Jordan was 20-102, 2 TDs. Pennington hit a 56t pass to RB-Richie Anderson 4:10 into the contest. Manning was 14-31-137, 2 ints., while the Colts rushed 14-52. The last win for the Jets in the league series came on December 23, 2001 in the RCA Dome, 29-28. After rallying from a 10-point deficit to a six-point lead, the Colts succumbed when QB-Vinny Testaverde (28-47-285, 2 TDs/ints.) hit TE-Anthony Becht on a 6t pass with :58 left. Manning (25-35-228, 1 TD), and RB-Dominic Rhodes (17-126, 1 TD rushing) guided the Colts. TE-Ken Dilger's 39t pass to WR-Marvin Harrison (12-127, 1 TD) gave the Colts their first lead with 9:59 to go. Testaverde moved the Jets 76 yards on the winning drive. Ks-Mike Vanderjagt (50, 43) and John Hall (37, 22, 48, 46, 24) had active performances. The Colts' 40 wins over the Jets are the most by the club over any foe. The initial meeting between the clubs was one of the most significant games in history as the 12-3 Jets, overwhelming underdogs, topped the 13-1 Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III on January 12, 1969.
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 128-46 record during that span.