DATE: Sunday, December 6, 2009
SITE: Lucas Oil Stadium
KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. (EST)/12:00 p.m. (CST)
Continuing divisional play for the first of two consecutive home games, the Indianapolis Colts, 11-0, host the Tennessee Titans, 5-6, on Sunday, December 6. Kickoff for the contest, telecast by CBS Sports, is 1:00 p.m. (EST)/12:00 p.m. (CST).
The Colts and Titans will be meeting for the second time this season. Indianapolis produced a 31-9 victory at LP Field on October 11. This is the second straight divisional opponent for Indianapolis. The Colts earned a 35-27 comeback victory last Sunday at Houston, rallying from a 17-point first-half deficit. It marked the Colts' league-record fifth consecutive victory after erasing a fourth-quarter deficit. The club has won five straight games by a combined 18 points. The outcome put the club's divisional mark at 4-0, and Indianapolis clinched the AFC South championship, coupled with San Francisco topping Jacksonville. Indianapolis hosts Denver on December 13, and concludes AFC South action on December 17 at Jacksonville. Tennessee has won five consecutive games. The Titans produced a dramatic 20-17 final-second victory last Sunday at home over Arizona. Sunday's contests pits teams that have won a combined 25 consecutive games. The Colts (2003-07, 09) and Titans (2002, 08) are the only teams to win AFC South titles. Indianapolis joined 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.
The victory at Houston extended the sixth 10 -game regular-season winning streak in franchise history (20, 2008-09; 13, 2005; 11, 1964; 11, 1975-76; 11, 1999; 10, 2005-06), the fourth since 1999. The Colts became the 2nd team to earn a streak of 20 consecutive regular-season victories (21, New England, 2006-08). Last week's victory provided the Colts with their second 11-0 start 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). Jim Caldwell is the only NFL rookie head coach to win his first eleven 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 20th rookie head coach since the 1978 NFL move to a 16-game season to win 11 games. 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; 11, 2009).
Last week, the club extended its franchise record with a 10th consecutive road win. 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 also has earned its seventh consecutive season with 11 victories, surpassing the NFL record it had shared with Dallas (6, 1976-81). The Colts are within reach of extending their league mark for consecutive seasons with 12 victories. Indianapolis has accomplished that feat six straight seasons. The Colts now have 112 victories for the 2000-09 decade, one win shy of tying the league record of 113 by San Francisco from 1990-99.
The Colts are owners of the NFL's best regular-season record (125-46) 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 70 of its last 84 regular-season games and owns an 80-20 record over its last 100 regular-season games. New England earned an 82-18 record during this decade for the NFL's best 100-game regular-season mark. Indianapolis' winning ways include a 36-10 record in AFC South play, while the club has owned or shared the lead in 106 of 130 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.
PERSONNEL REPORT: DT-Keyunta Dawson (knee), DB-Aaron Francisco (ankle), DE-Dwight Freeney (abdomen), WR-Anthony Gonzalez (knee), K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee) were out; DB-Kelvin Hayden (knee), LB-Ramon Humber (calf), OT-Charlie Johnson (foot), TE-Gijon Robinson (concussion), QB-Jim Sorgi (right shoulder) were questionable; RB-Joseph Addai (knee), DB-Antoine Bethea (foot), DE-Raheem Brock (neck), RB-Donald Brown (shoulder), DB-Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), WR-Pierre Garcon (ankle), DB-Tim Jennings (ankle), QB-Peyton Manning (glute), DE-Robert Mathis (neck), DB-Jerraud Powers (knee), TE-Tom Santi (hip), C-Jeff Saturday (calf), TE-Jacob Tamme (quadriceps), OT-Tony Ugoh (knee), WR-Reggie Wayne (foot) were probable for the last game. Last game's inactive players were: Dawson, Francisco, Gonzalez, Vinatieri, Freeney, Robinson, Hayden and QB-Jim Sorgi.
TELEVISION/RADIO: CBS Sports telecasts with Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon. 1070-The Fan/HANK-FM, 97.1 broadcasts with Bob Lamey, Will Wolford and Kevin Lee (field reporter).
NEXT WEEK: Indianapolis hosts Denver on Sunday, December 13 at 1:00 p.m. (EST)/11:00 a.m. (MST).
**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 six consecutive 12 -victory seasons (2003-08) set the NFL's all-time standard. Caldwell has become the 20th rookie head coach since the 1978 NFL move to a 16-game season to win 11 games. Caldwell is the only NFL rookie head coach to win his first eleven 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; 11, 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.
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, 17-12, including a victory at Tennessee on October 11. In this year's first meeting, Indianapolis set a franchise record with a 14th consecutive regular-season victory (now 20) in winning at Tennessee, 31-9. The Colts topped the previous record set in 2005, when the club won its first 13 outings. QB-Peyton Manning was 36-44-309, 3 TDs/1 int. to finish the game with 47,273 career passing yards and 345 TDs, moving past past QB-Fran Tarkenton (47,003; 342) into 5th-place in NFL career passing yards and 3rd-place in touchdown passes. The defense held a third straight opponent under 100 rushing yards, and 163 yards on the ground over the last three games (24, Arizona; 49, Seattle; 90, Tennessee) marked the 2nd-lowest three-game total in club history. DE-Dwight Freeney extended his personal-best consecutive game sack streak to six outings. Jim Caldwell became the first Colts head coach to win his first five games (now 11). The team split the meetings in 2008 by winning at home. On last December 28, Indianapolis topped Tennessee, 23-0, to end the season with a nine-game winning streak, while extending its NFL record to six consecutive seasons with 12 victories. The club produced its first shutout since 1997. At 13-2 with the division clinched, the Titans rested selected starters, and Indianapolis was able to produce some individual milestones. Manning was 7-7-95, 1 TD (55t) to extend his NFL record with a ninth 4,000 season (4,002). TE-Dallas Clark (848) was 6-59 receiving to set the club's seasonal yardage record for TEs (829, Mackey, 1966). 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 took the 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.
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 125-46 record during that span.