INDIANAPOLIS –In the Colts' 59 previous years, the ability to play an entire regular season without consecutive losses has been done but eight times.
While doing so has not been a certainty in reaching the playoffs, it will be the case this year for sure if the club wins at Kansas City on Sunday.
On four previous occasions this year, Indianapolis responded from defeat with a victory.
A 41-21 loss at Chicago was met with a 23-20 victory over Minnesota.
A 22-17 last-minute home loss to Jacksonville was followed by a 30-27 comeback win over Green Bay.
A 35-9 loss at the New York Jets prompted a four-game winning streak that started with a 17-13 win against Cleveland.
A 59-24 setback at New England was followed by three more wins, the first being a 20-13 verdict over Buffalo.
Now, Indianapolis tries to lay claim to a post-season berth by meeting the Chiefs after falling last Sunday at Houston, 29-17. If the club can win, it will mark the ninth time in franchise history a regular season has been played with consecutive losses.
Bruce Arians cites solid veteran leadership on a young team for the reason the resiliency has shown in 2012.
Antoine Bethea is the fourth-longest tenured Colts player, and he helps keep the focus on upcoming Sundays.
"Regardless of whatever game we play, it's a 24-hour rule. Win or loss, we've got to put it in the past and get ready for our next opponent," said Bethea. "We've been doing a good job of that, correcting the mistakes that we made in the previous game and just going out there and playing hard."
Cory Redding stated a firm mantra of, "Never allow one loss to turn into two, period." Redding is a proud player who knows the team started the season with a "forest of trees" in front of it, and it has chopped all but one tree that stands in the way of a playoff berth.
"We've come too far to reach this point to let it all go away, let it all be in vain," said Redding. "I won't stand idly by and let that happen, and I know my teammates won't either."
Andrew Luck has taken every offensive snap in a memorable season. Luck embodies the ethic of the locker room, and the quality of his play is what the coaches preached since the start of OTAs about individuals having to produce regardless of league experience.
Should the club win, Luck would be the first rookie Colts quarterback to lead a season without consecutive regular-season defeats.
Veterans like John Unitas (1964, 1967, 1970, 1971-shared with Earl Morrall), Morrall (1968, 1971-shared with Unitas), Bert Jones (1976) and Peyton Manning (1999, 2003) directed the other ones. Manning was the previous youngest to do so. The 1999 season was his second year.
"I think guys want to come back and play, bounce back and atone for their mistakes. I think it's sort of the DNA of the team, and, hopefully, we can do that again this week," said Luck. "Guys just want to bounce back, (stay) loose and come back and play football. No one hangs their head too long.
"We realize it's going to be tough against a team that is much better than their record indicates in a tough environment."
SEASONS WITHOUT CONSECUTIVE LOSSES
Year, Record, Post-season result
1964, 12-2, Lost in NFL Championship game to Cleveland, 27-0.
1967, 11-1-2, Lost tiebreaker to 11-1-2 L.A. Rams in Coastal Division, missed playoffs.
1968, 13-1, Lost in Super Bowl III to New York Jets, 16-7.
1970, 11-2-1, Won in Super Bowl V over Dallas, 16-13.
1971, 10-4, Lost in AFC Championship game to Miami, 21-0.
1976, 11-3, Lost in Divisional Playoffs to Pittsburgh, 40-14.
1999, 13-3, Lost in Divisional Playoffs to Tennessee, 19-16.
2003, 12-4, Lost in AFC Championship game to New England, 24-14.