DATE: Sunday, November 15, 2009
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 8:20 p.m. (EST)
Meeting an opponent in a contest that will be waged before a national audience for the ninth consecutive time, the Indianapolis Colts, 8-0, host the New England Patriots, 6-2, on Sunday, November 15. Kickoff for the game, telecast by NBC Sports, is 8:20 p.m. (EST) in Lucas Oil Stadium. Westwood One provides coast-to-coast radio coverage.
The Colts and Patriots have met on a national stage annually since the playoffs following the 2003 season, splitting eight contests. Three of the contests have been playoff affairs, with two of those battles deciding the AFC champion. The Patriots topped the Colts on January 18, 2004, 24-14 in Foxborough, to win the conference title. New England beat Indianapolis the next season in the Divisional Playoffs, 20-3 on January 16, 2005 in Gillette Stadium. Indianapolis took consecutive November contests in Foxborough, 40-21 on November 7, 2005 and 27-20 on November 5, 2006. Both wins extended the Colts' record to 8-0. Indianapolis prevailed over New England, 38-34, in the AFC Championship Game on January 21, 2007, earning a berth in Super Bowl XLI. New England ended the Colts' series winning streak with a 24-20 verdict in the RCA Dome on November 4, 2007, in a meeting of the best undefeated records in NFL history (8-0, New England; 7-0, Colts). Indianapolis produced an 18-15 home win last November 2. The first of these nationally-televised outings was a 27-24 Patriots home win in the 2004 opener. The teams are meeting for the fifth consecutive season in November.
The Colts and Patriots stand as the winningest organizations since the start of the 1999 season. Indianapolis owns a 122-46 regular-season record during that span, while New England boasts a mark of 116-52. The Colts have an NFL-best nine playoff appearances since 1999, while the Patriots' six appearances are tied for the third-most. The Colts and Patriots each won five consecutive division titles (2003-07), before finishing second in their respective divisions last year. Indianapolis and New England are two of nine organizations to win five or more consecutive divisional flags since the NFL Merger in 1970 (7, LA Rams, NFC West, 1973-79; 6, Minnesota, NFC Central, 1973-78; 6, Pittsburgh, AFC Central, 1974-79; 5, Oakland, AFC West, 1972-76; 5, Chicago, NFC Central, 1984-88; 5, San Francisco, NFC West, 1986-90; 5, Dallas, NFC East, 1992-96; 5, Indianapolis, AFC South, 2003-07; 5, New England, AFC East, 2003-07). The clubs also are moving near the top regular-season victory total for any team in any NFL decade. San Francisco won 113 regular-season games during the 1990s. Indianapolis (109) and New England (109) have moved past other prominent decade totals from past NFL teams (113, San Francisco, 1990s, 1 SB title; 109, New England, 2000s, 3 SB titles; 109, Colts, 1 SB title; 105, Dallas, 1970s, 2 SB titles; 104, Miami, 1970s, 2 SB titles; 104, San Francisco, 1980s, 4 SB titles; 102, Buffalo, 1990s, 0 SB titles; 102, Kansas City, 1990s, 0 SB titles; 100, Dallas, 1990s, 3 SB titles).
The Colts reach Sunday's contest after a 20-17 victory last Sunday at home over Houston. The victory extended the sixth 10 -game regular-season winning streak in franchise history (17, 2008-09; 13, 2005; 11, 1964; 11, 1975-76; 11, 1999; 10, 2005-06), the fourth since 1999. In extending their streak to 17 consecutive regular-season victories, the Colts became the 4th team to earn a streak of 17 consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08; 18, New England, 2003-04; 17, Chicago, 1933-34). Last week's victory provided the Colts with their third 8-0 start in the past five seasons (13-0, 2005; 9-0, 2006) and made Jim Caldwell the only Colts head coach to win his first eight games. Caldwell is the only rookie head coach in the Super Bowl era to start 8-0. The 8-0 record now ties Caldwell for the best start in NFL history by a rookie coach (8, Potsy Clark, Portsmouth, 1931). Indianapolis also 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; 8, 2009). Additionally, the club produced its 10th consecutive home win, marking the 3rd-longest streak in team history (12, 2006-07; 11, 2004-05). New England earned a 27-17 home win over Miami last Sunday.
The Colts are owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (122-46) since the start of the 1999 season, while being the only team to earn nine playoff appearances in the last 10 seasons, including a league-best seven consecutive post-season berths. Indianapolis has won 67 of its last 81 regular-season games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 35-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 103 of 127 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 is the only NFL team to have double-digit victory totals and playoff appearances each season since the 2002 NFL Realignment. In 2008, Indianapolis produced its seventh consecutive 10 -victory season, tying the second-longest streak in NFL history (16, San Francisco, 1983-98; 7, Dallas, 1975-81).
PERSONNEL REPORT: WR-Anthony Gonzalez (knee), DB-Kelvin Hayden (knee), K-Adam Vinatieri (knee) were out; RB-Donald Brown (shoulder), WR-Pierre Garcon (ankle), DT-Fili Moala (concussion), DB-Jamie Silva (hip) were questionable for the last game. Last game's inactive players were: Gonzalez, Hayden, Vinatieri, Brown, OT-Tony Ugoh, TE-Tom Santi, DT-Fili Moala, QB-Curtis Painter.
TELEVISION/RADIO: NBC Sports telecasts with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer (field reporter). 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolford and Kevin Lee (field reporter). Westwood One broadcasts nationally with Dave Sims, James Lofton and Hub Arkush (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Baltimore on Sunday, November 22 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 seven consecutive playoff appearances. The club has earned 10 victories in seven consecutive seasons, tying the second-longest NFL streak, and the club's six consecutive 12 -victory seasons set the NFL's all-time standard. From 2004-09, Indianapolis became the only NFL team to earn winning streaks of at least seven games in six consecutive seasons. 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.
BILL BELICHICK was named the 14th head coach in Patriots history on January 27, 2000. Belichick previously served as assistant head coach/secondary for the New York Jets from 1997-99. Belichick has directed the Patriots to regular-season records of 5-11, 11-5, 9-7, 14-2, 14-2, 10-6, 12-4, 16-0 and 11-5. He has guided New England to three Super Bowl titles, 20-17 over St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI, 32-29 over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII and 24-21 over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX. Belichick began his coaching career with the Baltimore Colts as a special assistant in 1975. He served stints with Detroit (1976-77), Denver (1978) and the New York Giants (1979-90). He spent 1985-90 as Giants defensive coordinator. Their success as a defensive unit contributed to two Super Bowl titles. Following Super Bowl XXV, Belichick was named head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He spent 1991-95 at the Browns helm before spending the 1996 season as Patriots assistant head coach/secondary. He played football at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
COLTS/PATRIOTS SERIES NOTES
New England owns a 42-27 regular season series advantage over the Colts, and the Patriots have taken two of three playoff games between the clubs. These teams met last November 2 in Indianapolis, with Indianapolis posting an 18-15 victory. K-Adam Vinatieri booted a 52-yard field goal midway through the final quarter to help Indianapolis earn the victory. QB-Peyton Manning (21-29-254, 2 TDs) teamed with WR-Anthony Gonzalez (4-55, 2 TDs; 12t; 9t) on two scoring passes, while the Indianapolis defense produced takeaways on New England's final two possessions to secure the win. The Colts held leads of 7-0 and 15-12 before Vinatieri's winning kick. New England used three field goals by K-Stephen Gostkowski and a 6t rush by RB-BenJarvus Green-Ellis to tie the contest early in the final period. Tony Dungy coached in his 200th career regular-season game and posted his 131st victory, the third-highest 200-game regular-season total by any head coach in NFL history (147, Don Shula; 135, George Halas). The teams met on November 4, 2007 in the RCA Dome, with New England earning a 24-20 victory. The contest matched the best unbeaten records in NFL history, (8-0, New England; 7-0, Colts). The Patriots scored two touchdowns in the final 7:59 to top the Colts. QB-Tom Brady (21-32-255, 3 TDs/2 ints.) hit scoring tosses to WR-Wes Welker (3t) and RB-Kevin Faulk (13t) to erase a 20-10 Colts lead. Brady also teamed with WR-Randy Moss (9-145, 1 TD; 4t) to open the scoring, but Indianapolis seized the lead just prior to the half and led most of the way. Manning was 16-27-225, 1 TD/int., while RB-Joseph Addai (26-112 rushing/5-114, 1 TD receiving) became the first Colts player ever to tally 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game. Manning and Addai teamed on a 73t scoring play just prior to the half. The outcome snapped a franchise-record 12-game home winning streak and a three-game overall Colts series winning streak. The Colts defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game on January 21, 2007. In that contest, erasing an 18-point deficit with a 32-point second-half flurry, the Colts captured the AFC crown with a 38-34 victory. Manning (27-47-349, 1 TD/int.) scored on a 1t rush, tossed a 1t pass and guided the club to 17 fourth-quarter points to earn the club its first Super Bowl berth since the 1970 season. Indianapolis tallied 455 net yards, with second-half scoring drives of 76, 76, 67, 59 and 80 yards. The final drive concluded with a 3t rush by Addai with 1:00 remaining as the club produced the largest championship game comeback in NFL history. Vinatieri booted field goals of 42, 26 and 36 yards, while C-Jeff Saturday (fumble recovery) and DT-Dan Klecko (1t reception) scored touchdowns. New England bolted to a 21-3 lead behind Brady (21-34-232, 1 TD/int.) and a 39t interception return by DB-Asante Samuel. Indianapolis knotted the contest at 21-21, 28-28 and 31-31 before the final game-winning drive. The playoff win came after two such setbacks to the Patriots, a 24-14 decision on January 18, 2004 in the AFC Championship Game and a 20-3 decision on January 16, 2005 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Colts have won the last two regular-season meetings at Gillette Stadium, 27-20 on November 5, 2006 and 40-21 on November 7, 2005. New England's last home regular-season series win came on September 9, 2004, 27-24. Each of the last eight meetings between the clubs has been televised nationally. This week's game marks the ninth straight meeting both teams had winning records.
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 122-46 record during that span.