DATE: Sunday, December 14, 2008
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
The Colts aim to finish 2-2 against the NFC North in 2008 regular-season play. The club dropped a 29-13 season-opening outcome to Chicago (September 7) and a 34-14 verdict at Green Bay (October 19), but posted an 18-15 victory at Minnesota (September 14). The Colts and Lions will be meeting for the first time since the 2004 season, when Indianapolis took a Thanksgiving Day victory on November 25 at Ford Field, 41-9. Detroit last appeared in Indianapolis during the 2007 preseason, and will be making its first regular-season appearance since the 2000 season. Indianapolis reaches Sunday's fray after a 35-3 home win last Sunday over Cincinnati. Detroit dropped a 20-16 outcome last Sunday to Minnesota at home. The Colts will be looking to extend their streak of double-digit victory seasons to seven, a streak spanning Head Coach Tony Dungy's tenure with the club. Indianapolis is seeking its seventh consecutive playoff appearance under Dungy as well. Accomplishing both as the season progresses would keep Indianapolis as the only NFL team to have double-digit victory totals and playoff berths each season since the 2002 NFL Realignment.
Owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (111-46) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn eight playoff appearances in the last nine seasons, Indianapolis has won 56 of its last 70 regular-season games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 30-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 95 of 116 weeks of the division's existence. The Colts won five AFC South championships from 2003-07, the best divisional-title streak in club history. Indianapolis became the only NFL team with five consecutive 12 -victory seasons during that same 2003-07 span. If the club reaches seven consecutive double-digit victory seasons, it would tie the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81). Indianapolis produced its sixth consecutive victory last week, joining San Francisco (1989-95) as the only NFL teams to win at least six consecutive games in five consecutive seasons (Colts: 8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 6, 2008). A victory Sunday by Indianapolis would make the Colts the only NFL team ever to win seven consecutive games in five consecutive seasons.
PERSONNEL REPORT: LB-Gary Brackett (fibula), DT-Keyunta Dawson (hamstring) were out; LB-Tyjuan Hagler (knee), DB-Bob Sanders (knee), C-Jeff Saturday (calf), RB-Joseph Addai (knee), WR-Anthony Gonzalez (shoulder) were questionable. Last game's inactive players were: WR-Roy Hall, Hagler, LB-Rufus Alexander, TE-Jamie Petrowski, DE-Curtis Johnson, Brackett, Dawson and Saturday.
TELEVISION/RADIO: FOX Sports telecasts with Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey and Will Wolford.
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Jacksonville on Thursday, December 18 at 8:15 p.m. (EST).
**WWW.COLTS.COM**: Please check the official website of the Indianapolis Colts for the latest in team information and merchandise.
TONY DUNGY is 82-27 at the Colts' helm. Dungy joined the Colts on January 22, 2002, after serving as Tampa Bay's head coach for six seasons (1996-01). Dungy's career regular-season record is 136-69, and he has an overall record of 145-78. Dungy became the 35th coach in NFL history to earn 100 career victories with a 38-20 win at Houston on 10/23/05. Dungy became the 20th coach since entering the league in 1970 to win 100 career games. Of those 20, only George Seifert (132), Joe Gibbs (148), Mike Ditka (151), Mike Holmgren (160) and Mike Shanahan (161) reached 100 career wins faster than Dungy's pace of 163 games. Dungy recorded his 100th regular-season victory vs. Tennessee 12/4/05, becoming only the 6th coach to win 100 regular-season games in the first 10 years as a head coach (113, Seifert; 105, Don Shula; 103, John Madden; 102, Dungy; 101, Gibbs; 101, Ditka).
Dungy coached his 200th regular-season game on 11/2/08, and the 24-20 victory over New England was his 131st, the third-highest total by any NFL head coach over the first 200 regular-season career games (147, Shula; 131, George Halas). With an overall mark of 89-32, Dungy became the winningest coach in Colts history with a 31-7 win at Carolina on 10/28/07, bettering the prior total of 73 by Shula and Ted Marchibroda. Dungy owns a 112-45 mark since the start of the 1999 season (30-18 at Tampa Bay; 82-27 with Colts), and he is the NFL's winningest coach during that span. He has directed 10 of his 12 teams into the playoffs, while leading Tampa Bay (1999) and the Colts (2003, 2006) to the conference championship game, and his 2006 Colts squad won Super Bowl XLI. Dungy took Tampa Bay to four playoff appearances during his tenure as field general. From 2002-07, Dungy has directed the Colts to 10-6, 12-4, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4 and 13-3 records, becoming the only coach in club history to produce 10 victories and playoff berths in the first six seasons with the team. In 2007, Dungy helped produce the 17th 10 -victory season in franchise history, and he is one of five Colts head coaches to earn double-digit victory totals (6, Dungy; 4, Shula; 3, Marchibroda; 2, Don McCafferty; 2, Jim Mora). Dungy has nine career double-digit victory seasons (10-6, 1997; 11-5, 1999; 10-6, 2000 with Tampa Bay; 10-6, 2002; 12-4, 2003; 12-4, 2004; 14-2, 2005; 12-4, 2006; 13-3, 2007 with Colts), and he was the first coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams. Under Dungy, Indianapolis has six consecutive 10 -victory seasons (2002-07), tying the third-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81; 6, Dallas, 1968-73; 6, Miami 1970-75; 6, LA Rams, 1973-78; 6, Dallas, 1991-96; 6, Colts, 2002-07). The Colts have produced a 111-46 regular-season record since 1999, a victory total that leads the NFL. The Colts are the only team to qualify for post-season play eight times in the last nine seasons. Indianapolis won five consecutive AFC South titles from 2002-07, and has owned or shared the division lead in 95 of 116 weeks of AFC South existence. The Colts were wire-to-wire divisional leaders from 2005-07. Under Dungy during the regular season, the Colts are 42-12 at home and 40-15 on the road. Dungy (1999-07) has earned nine consecutive playoff appearances (1999-01 at Tampa Bay; 2002-07 with Colts), tying Tom Landry (9, Dallas, 1975-83) for the most consecutive playoff appearances by NFL coaches since 1970. Indianapolis (14-2, 2005; 12-4, 2003, 2004 and 2006; 13-3, 2007) is the only team to earn 12 victories in five consecutive seasons, snapping the league mark it had shared with Dallas (1992-95). In 2008, Indianapolis joined San Francisco (1989-95) as the only NFL teams to win at least six consecutive games in five consecutive seasons (Colts: 8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 6, 2008). The Colts own a 79-25 record (counting the playoffs) since the start of the 2003 season and are 65-20 since 2004. Dungy held a 54-42 record as head coach with Tampa Bay, qualifying for the playoffs four times in six seasons. Dungy produced some of the NFL's stingiest defenses during his years at Tampa Bay. His units ranked no lower than 11th during his stay and ranked 6th or higher in four of his last five years. His 2007 Colts unit ranked 3rd in the NFL and 1st in scoring defense. Dungy also served 1981-88 with Pittsburgh, including 1984-88 as defensive coordinator. After serving 1989-91 as DB Coach at Kansas City, Dungy was the defensive coordinator at Minnesota from 1992-95. During his years in Minnesota, the Vikings intercepted an NFL-high 95 passes and made three playoff appearances. The Chiefs made two playoff appearances during Dungy's tenure. At Pittsburgh in 1984, he became the NFL's youngest coordinator (age 28). In five seasons as Pittsburgh's coordinator, the Steelers averaged 24 interceptions and 37 takeaways, while scoring 20 touchdowns. Dungy entered the coaching ranks in 1980 at his alma mater, Minnesota, where he was a quarterback (1973-76). He made the Steelers as a free agent in 1977 and was a member of the Super Bowl XIII title team, then was traded to San Francisco in 1979. Dungy is a native of Jackson, Mich.
ROD MARINELLI became the 24th Lions head coach on January 19, 2006. Marinelli directed Detroit to records of 3-13 and 7-9 in his first two seasons. Marinelli joined Detroit after serving 1996-05 as defensive line coach with Tampa Bay. For the final four seasons, he additionally served as assistant head coach. The Buccaneers earned a solid defensive reputation during his tenure. His defensive linemen tallied 328.5 of the team's 416 sacks during that span, the best among NFL line units. Marinelli's linemen ranked in the league's top five in sacks in six of 10 seasons, and Tampa Bay set a league mark with sacks in 60 consecutive games from 1999-2003. Marinelli served collegiate assistantships at Utah State 1976, California 1983-91, Arizona State 1992-94 and Southern Cal 1995. He played OT and DT at Utah before military service, then finished as an OT at Cal-Lutheran. Marinelli is a native of Rosemead, Calif.
COLTS/LIONS SERIES NOTES
The Colts and Lions have squared off only five times since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984, only eight times since the 1970 NFL Merger and only eleven times since being twice-a-season combatants from 1953-66 in the NFL's Western Conference. The Colts lead the series, 19-18-2. The teams last met on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 (November 25) at Ford Field. QB-Peyton Manning (23-28-236, 6 TDs) hit for a club-record six touchdowns for the second time in his career as the Colts topped Detroit, 41-9. WRs-Marvin Harrison (12-127, 3 TDs; 13t, 10t, 5t) and Brandon Stokley (5-57, 3 TDs; 4t, 12t; 25t) tied the club record for most scoring receptions in a game, while RB-Edgerrin James was 23-105 rushing. Manning set an NFL mark with his fifth straight game with four or more TD passes, while he (41) became only the third NFL QB with 40 seasonal TD tosses (ended season with NFL-record 49, since broken). The Indianapolis defense produced five takeaways and three sacks. The game marked the club's first Thanksgiving Day outing since 1965, and the club since played on Thanksgiving Night in 2007. On October 29, 2000, the Colts won the last meeting in Indianapolis, 30-18. In that battle, the Colts built a 23-0 halftime lead that shrunk to 23-18 with 2:32 to go, but an interception and clinching touchdown produced the win. Manning (22-32-288, 3 TDs/2 ints.) found TE-Marcus Pollard (3-74) on a 31t pass with 2:36 left in the first quarter. Indianapolis doubled its margin when Manning teamed with Harrison (9-109, 1 TD) on a 3t strike with 6:26 left in the half. The Colts claimed the final nine points of the half when DT-Josh Williams leveled QB-Charlie Batch (18-39-190, 1 TD/2 ints.) for a safety with 2:55 to go, then TE-Ken Dilger snared a 12t pass. The Colts had a 267-93 net yards bulge at intermission, while Detroit held RB-Edgerrin James (31-139, 1 TD rushing) to 36 rushing yards in the half. Manning was 16-22-231, 3 TDs at the break. Detroit's first score, a 9t RB-Mario Bates rush, was set up after an interception of Manning to start the half. RB-James Stewart's two-point rush cut the score to 23-8 5:55 into the quarter. PR-Desmond Howard returned a P-Hunter Smith boot 80 yards to the Colts' 2, but the Indy defense forced a field goal. The teams traded interceptions early in the fourth quarter, then Batch hit a 5t pass to WR-Herman Moore, to cut the deficit to 23-18. The Lions' last threat ended when DB-David Macklin swiped a Batch pass. James then added a 24t rush for the final points. The Lions captured a 32-10 decision over the Colts on November 23, 1997 in the last series win for Detroit. Detroit's last appearance in Indianapolis was on August 25, 2007, a preseason affair won by the Colts, 37-10.
BEST NFL RECORDS DURING 1999-2008 REGULAR SEASONS
COLTS ARE NFL'S WINNINGEST TEAM FROM 1999-2008: The Colts stand as the NFL's winningest team since the start of the 1999 season. The Colts own a 111-46 record during that span. Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy was 30-18 with Tampa Bay from 1999-2001. He is 82-27 with the Colts, and his 112 wins during that span are the most in the NFL.