Colts get ready for Cardinals after weekend off
(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By JIM JOHNSON
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts aren't focusing on their slow starts.
They aren't worried about falling behind early in each game the past three weeks.
Instead, the Colts continue to look forward. That's all coach Chuck Pagano wanted his team to do.
"I don't know if it's like a batter that's in a slump," he said. "The harder you press, the harder you swing, things might tend to get worse instead of just sticking to the process, executing better, better fundamentals, technique, communication."
The Colts (7-3) are coming off a win at Tennessee last Thursday that gave them control of the AFC South with a three-game lead and a sweep of all three division road games.
Now it's back to the regular routine and the Colts hope the long weekend will create a refreshed team as they prepare to make the trip to Arizona on Sunday where they face the Cardinals and former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who stepped in as interim head coach of the Colts last season.
"I think our guys are excited to play the Cardinals," Pagano said. "It's going to be a tough one. He's got a really good football team, solid in all three phases and well-coached. It will be a great challenge for our team."
The Colts fell behind early against the Houston Texans coming out of the bye week on Nov. 3, but rallied in the second half to win. The fell behind big against St. Louis in Week 10 and never climbed out of that deficit.
Then against the Titans, Indy fell behind by two scores, but rallied in the second half for a 30-27 win.
"We've been playing bad ball, that's all it is," wide receiver T.Y. Hilton said. "We're not executing in the first half and it's causing us the slow starts. But it is what it is and we're winning, so it's nothing more to talk about."
But the Colts have had a hard time trying to move the ball on the ground, until the second half of Thursday's game when Donald Brown ran for two scores against the Titans.
Tight end Coby Fleener has helped out, too. Since Reggie Wayne suffered a season-ending knee injury in a game against Denver last month, Fleener has caught a 44-yard pass against Houston and a 2-point conversion passes against the Texans and the Rams and totaled a season-best 107 yards against the Titans.
"His stat line continues to get better and better," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "His production has been great since he's been here."
Hilton had 121 yards receiving and three touchdowns against the Texans and 130 against St. Louis.
Now it's just a matter of making big plays right from the start instead of waiting around until the second half. The weekend off may have been just what the Colts needed.
"Good to get everybody back," Pagano said. "Good sharp, crisp practice. Start at 8 o'clock this morning with meetings in preparation for Arizona."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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