DATE: Sunday, November 2, 2008
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 8:15 p.m. (EST)
Meeting for the ninth time in the past six seasons since splitting as division mates in 2002, the Indianapolis Colts, 3-4, host the New England Patriots, 5-2, on Sunday, November 2. Kickoff for the contest, broadcast nationally by NBC Sports and Westwood One, is 8:15 p.m. (EST).
The Colts-Patriots series has taken on a profile as high as any in the league. Each of the past eight meetings has come with the teams owning non-losing records. Three of the contests have been playoff affairs, and two of those battles decided 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. Since that outing, Indianapolis prevailed twice at New England in the regular season, and a 38-34 Colts victory in the AFC Championship Game on January 21, 2007 earned the club a berth in Super Bowl XLI. New England ended the Colts' series winning streak with a 24-20 win in the RCA Dome on November 4 of last season. It was a meeting of the best undefeated records in NFL history (8-0, New England; 7-0, Colts).
The Colts reach Sunday's contest after a 31-21 loss last Monday at Tennessee. New England earned a 23-16 home win last Sunday over St. Louis.
The teams stand as the winningest organizations since the start of the 1999 season. Indianapolis owns a 105-46 regular-season record during that span, while New England boasts a mark of 104-47. The Colts have an NFL-best eight playoff appearances since 1999, while the Patriots' six appearances are tied for the second-most. The teams are meeting for the fourth consecutive season in the first week of November. Prior to the Patriots' victory last season, Indianapolis had taken the past two 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. The teams met in the 2004 opener, a 27-24 home win for New England. The Colts and Patriots each have won five consecutive division titles, making each organization one of nine 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).
Indianapolis has won 50 of its last 64 regular-season games. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 29-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 95 of 110 weeks of the division's existence. The Colts have won the past five AFC South championships, the best divisional-title streak in club history. Indianapolis became the only NFL team with five consecutive 12 -victory seasons. The Colts were tied with Dallas (1992-95) as the only teams to do it four consecutive seasons.
PERSONNEL REPORT: DB-Bob Sanders (knee), DB-Kelvin Hayden (knee), WR-Roy Hall (knee), RB-Joseph Addai (hamstring) were out; DB-Marlin Jackson (shoulder), TE-Jacob Tamme (knee) were questionable. Last game's inactive players were: Tamme, DE-Marcus Howard, OT-Dan Federkeil, LB-Buster Davis, Addai, Hayden, Hall and Sanders.
TELEVISION/RADIO: NBC Sports telecasts with Al Michaels, John Madden and Andrea Kremer (field reporter). 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey and Will Wolford. Westwood One provides national radio coverage with Dave Sims and Jim Fassel.
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis visits Pittsburgh on Sunday, November 9 at 4:15 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 76-27 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 130-69, and he has an overall record of 139-78. 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). With an overall mark of 83-32, 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 106-45 mark since the start of the 1999 season (30-18 at Tampa Bay; 76-27 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 105-46 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 has won the AFC South five consecutive seasons and has owned or shared the division lead in 95 of 110 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 39-12 at home and 37-15 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) has become the only team to earn 12 victories in five consecutive seasons, snapping the league mark it had shared with Dallas (1992-95). The Colts own a 73-25 record (counting the playoffs) since the start of the 2003 season and are 59-20 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.
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 and 16-0. 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 42-26 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 4 in Indianapolis, with New England earning a 24-20 victory. In a contest matching the best unbeaten records in NFL history, New England (8-0) scored two touchdowns in the final 7:59 to top Indianapolis (7-0). 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. QB-Peyton 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. K-Adam 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.
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 105-46 record during that span. Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy was 30-18 with Tampa Bay from 1999-2001. He is 76-27 with the Colts, and his 106 wins during that span are the most in the NFL.