Colts don't have time to dwell on latest loss
INDIANAPOLIS -- Chuck Pagano was just as disgusted with the game tape he watched Monday morning as he was with the Colts' live performance Sunday afternoon.
But the Colts can't worry about the past now -certainly not with a Thursday night game at Tennessee.
"When you're out there on the field and you make a great play, that's fine. You've got to put that play behind you. When you go out there and you stub your toe and you make a bad play, you've got to put it behind you," defensive end Cory Redding said. "This is the same thing as far as going to the next game.
Players and coaches have no choice after enduring the team's worst home loss in two decades, 38-8 at the hands of the Rams.
Outsiders, on the other hand, are now taking a hard look at some of the problems that have been masked by the fact that Indy (6-3) still holds a two-game lead in the AFC South:
- The power running game has struggled, and it was never more apparent than Sunday when the Colts had 18 yards rushing. Andrew Luck accounted for 17 of the yards, while Indy ran for a measly 1.3 yards per carry. Trent Richardson's rushing average dipped to 2.8 yards since he joined the Colts in September.
- The rebuilt offensive line, which was supposed to protect Luck better this season, has allowed 22 sacks in nine games, one more than the same span last year. It went into Sunday allowing Luck to be hit 63 times, tied for third-most in the league. Those numbers put the Colts on pace to virtually match, or surpass, last year's disturbing totals of 41 sacks and more than 100 quarterback hits.
- The defense, which has been terrific in the second half of games, has allowed 95 points and TD passes of 31, 62, 41, 57 and 81 yards in its last three contests (Denver, Houston and St. Louis).
-And while Pat McAfee has been one of the league's best punters, only the New York Giants and Redskins have allowed a worse average on punt returns -- a number that dropped more after Tavon Austin scored on a 98-yard return and averaged 36.3 yards on four punt returns Sunday.
Team owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter that he would pass along fans' concerns. Players didn't like what they saw, either.
"I think all we want is to never play like that again," tight end Coby Fleener said. "The feeling after that game was just disgust."
Things could be worse.
Tennessee (4-5), Indy's nearest challenger, lost more than a game to previously winless Jacksonville on Sunday.
Starting quarterback Jake Locker left in the second quarter and will miss the rest of the season with a right foot injury. That means the Colts will have to rely on former Buffalo starter Ryan Fitzpatrick to play well in what amounts to a must-win game for Tennessee.
A loss would drop the Titans three games behind Indy with six to play. Indy is 2-0 against division foes and is trying to complete a sweep of its three division road games.
A win Thursday could put the Colts in position to clinch the division title before the end of November, and since Pagano's arrival last season, the Colts have not lost back-to-back games.
To keep the streak intact, Indy needs to move forward from Sunday and worry about finding solutions.
"Certainly we're not going to bury our head in the sand on this past ball game," Pagano said. "We'll address the issues like we always address them. We know there are things that need to be fixed and we'll go to work on fixing those things."
Note: Colts right guard Mike McGlynn fractured his right thumb Sunday. Pagano said McGlynn's hand would be put in a cast and that he was considered day to day.
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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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