Thursday, December 30, 2004

Legend in the Making

Not to take anything away from Dan Marino, I feel Dan is an all time great. Dan is a football icon or legend, either or works.

But the pedigree is strong in Peyton. Manning broke Marino's record of 48 touchdown passes this past Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. Throwing for 49 TD'S with one game left to go in the season.

It wasn't like Coach Dungy or Peyton wanted to intentionally break the record or cared to break the record.

In the team effort Manning has three of his receivers over 1,000 yards. WOW! That would be a first I believe.

In breaking the record Manning did it with style and the only one should break the record. In a dramatic come back to send the game into over time. I'm sure Dan couldn't really be upset with that.

Manning still has many years and records left to break. But he is there yet. Though he is a lengend in the Making. Just like my father used to say, "There is always room for improvment."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Heading to Hawaii

By John Oehser - Colts.com
The Triplets are doing Honolulu as a group. Again.

And one year after making one kind of Pro Bowl history for the Colts, a defensive end made a different kind Wednesday.

Wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

Quarterback Peyton Manning.

Running back Edgerrin James.

Defensive end Dwight Freeney.

That’s the 2005 Pro Bowl roster for the Indianapolis Colts, a roster that includes three players who made the NFL’s prestigious post-season all-star game last year — Harrison, Manning and Freeney — and another, James, who is returning after a difficult four-year absence.

“I certainly appreciate it,” said Manning, the NFL’s co-Most Valuable Player last year who made the game for the fifth time in his seven-year career and he received a record 1,075,089 votes in fan voting.

“I know it’s voted on by your peers, other coaches and the fans. I’m proud to represent the Colts there and I’m real happy for Marvin, Edgerrin and Dwight. I’m appreciative of the fans and their votes. I’ve never taken for granted being able to play quarterback in the NFL.

“I’m enjoying doing that, and I do appreciate that.”

Harrison, James and Manning — known as the Triplets — made the game together in 1999 and 2000, their first two seasons together, but had not gone as a group since.

The rosters for the game were announced Wednesday, and the starters for the game will be announced January 8 during a wild-card playoff game on ABC-TV.

The Pro Bowl will be played February 13, 2005, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

“You want to make it a consistent thing,” Freeney said. “I think that’s a big honor. You can say, ‘Well, you did it once — that’s a fluke year.’ If you make it with consistency, that kind of says what kind of guy you are.”

Manning, the first player to receive more than one million votes in the NFL Pro Bowl fan balloting, was voted to the game for the fifth time in six seasons. He has made the game three consecutive seasons after making it in 1999 and 2000.

Manning, who is one touchdown shy of the NFL single-season record for touchdown passes, has completed 308 of 451 passes this season for 4,168 yards and 47 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

The NFL record for touchdown passes in a season is 48, set by Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino in 1984. The league record for single-season passer rating is 112.8, set by Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.

Harrison, the AFC’s leading vote-getter at receiver among fans with 722,477 votes, made his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl.

Harrison, who leads the Colts with 75 receptions through 14 games, has 969 yards receiving this season and has 14 touchdown receptions.

James made the game for the first time since sustaining a serious knee injury midway through the 2001 season.

James, who led the NFL in rushing in 1999 and 2000 — his first two NFL seasons — made the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons, and was leading the NFL in rushing in 2001 when he sustained his knee injury in late October. He returned the following season to rush for 989 yards and rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season.

This season, James is 37 yards off the NFL lead with 1,464 yards and nine touchdowns on 311 carries.

He is second in the AFC and NFL behind Curtis Martin of the New York Jets.

“He’s had an outstanding year,” Manning said of James. “Some people have said he’s been somewhat unnoticed, but not around here.”

Freeney, who last year became the first Colts defensive player since 1987 to make the Pro Bowl, made the game for a second consecutive season. He leads the NFL with 15 sacks, and has eight sacks in the last three games.

Freeney, who had 13 sacks as a rookie and 11 last season in his second season, had three sacks in back-to-back victories over Tennessee and Houston and this past Sunday night, he had two against Baltimore Ravens All-Pro tackle Jonathan Ogden.

Freeney, the first defensive player in the Colts’ 21 seasons in Indianapolis to make two or more Pro Bowls, is the first Colts defensive player since defensive end John Dutton (1976-1977) to make the Pro Bowl in back-to-back seasons.

The Colts, despite ranking among the top 10 teams in the NFL in total offense every year since 1999, have not had Pro Bowl offensive lineman during that span. The Colts this season have allowed just nine sacks and rank 12th in the NFL in rushing.

Colts center Jeff Saturday is widely considered one of the NFL’s top players at his position, as is left tackle Tarik Glenn. Offensive guard Rick DeMulling also has emerged as one of the best players in the conference at his position, as has fourth-year tackle Ryan Diem.

“We’re a star-type team, because we’ve got some guys who are great skill position players,” Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. “Because of that, I don’t think our offensive line necessarily gets the credit they deserve. When you can possibly have the leading rusher in the NFL and possibly give up the least amount of sacks in the NFL, you have to be doing something real well. We have a few guys who are doing it really, really well. They’re not household words, but from their standpoint, I think they’d like to keep it that way.

“Those guys (the Colts’ skill-position players) are good at what they do, but our offensive line is really good at what they do also. I think the guys that play against them realize that, but really not many other people.

“I don’t think it bothers them. They like to get recognized as a group.”

Said Saturday, “All we can do is do what we do. We have a great rusher and great sack totals. That’s really all we can control and go out and keep doing our jobs. There’s not much you can do to control things like that.

“You just go and keep playing each week. Whenever it’s our time, it will be our time.”

With the Colts leading the NFL in scoring and second in total offense, Manning said he didn’t understand how any Colts linemen or more Colts receivers were not included.

“It’s hard for me to pick (only) one of those (linemen), because my locker sits among all those guys and I appreciate every single one of them,” Manning said. “One guy who has had a true Pro Bowl year is (wide receiver) Reggie Wayne. What he’s done for this offense and for me is significant.

“It hasn’t been common for two receivers to go, but I think Reggie has really had a Pro Bowl year. I know how people on this team feel about him and I’m disappointed about him.

“That kind of jumped out to me.”

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Another Kicker Signed

By John Oehser - Colts.com
The Colts have spent much of the season looking for a way to improve their kickoffs.

On Wednesday, they tried again.

This time, they did it with a well-known NFL name.

And one very familiar to Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy.

Martin Gramatica, a six-year NFL veteran who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, signed with the Colts Wednesday. He will handle kickoff duties, an area the Colts have focused on improving through much of the season.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Gramatica, who played for Dungy in Tampa Bay from 1999-2001. “There’s no other place I’d rather be than with Coach Dungy. It means a lot for him to give me an opportunity.

“I was going to take the rest of the year off. There’s five weeks left in the season and nowhere to go, but I’m really thankful to get the opportunity to come kick off here.”

Mike Vanderjagt, the Colts’ kicker since 1998 and the NFL’s all-time field goal accuracy leader, will continue to handle field goals and extra points, Dungy said.

The Colts released kickoff specialist Jason Baker, who had kicked off the last four games.

“I called Martin after he got released, just to tell him to hang in there and know that he’s going to kick somewhere in the league,” Dungy said. (Colts President) Bill (Polian) approached me the other day and said, ‘We’ve already committed to the kickoff spot. Is this guy a better kickoff man than Jason Baker?’ I said, ‘He probably is.’

“It’s just a move to make your team a little bit better.”

Gramatica, a 1999 third-round draft selection from Kansas State, made 137 of 179 field goals in nearly six seasons with the Buccaneers, but over the last two seasons he went 27-of-45 and was released after missing all three field-goal attempts – all from under 40 yards – in a 21-14 loss to Carolina on November 28.

Gramatica made 11 of 19 field goals this season, a career-low 57.9 percent.

On kickoffs, he has been far more consistent.

“When you’re doing both, you focus on making every kick,” Gramatica said. “You don’t put the kickoffs aside, but you make sure you make the kicks. I won’t be doing that here, so I’m just going to focus on kicking that ball as deep as I can.”

In 89 career games, he had 44 touchbacks in 411 kickoffs and the average return on his kickoffs is 21.5 yards. This season, he had six touchbacks on 46 kickoffs and opponents averaged 21.5 yards per return.

“Jason kicked well for us,” Dungy said. “The thing Martin can do, when we get to situations and outdoors, if you want to finesse kick and put the balls in the corner – Jason was not going to be that skilled, as a power kicker. Where we do want to do different things with the ball, Martin can do those things a little bit better.”

The Colts drafted Penn State kicker David Kimball last April to compete for the kickoff role, but released him before the season. They have had four players handle kickoffs this season – Vanderjagt for six games, kicker Matt Bryant for one when Vanderjagt was injured, punter Hunter Smith for one and Baker the last four games.

The Colts rank last in the AFC and 31st in the NFL in kickoff coverage, with opponents averaging starting at their 31.5-yard line. The Colts have three touchbacks this season. The Buccaneers rank seventh in the NFL with an average opponents’ starting point of the 28-yard line.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Colts over Lions

NFL.com wire reports

DETROIT (Nov. 25, 2004) -- Peyton Manning barks and gestures at the line of scrimmage, adjusting to defenses and changing play calls.

It might seem like chaos, but he's in complete control. Blitzing linebackers or disguised coverages don't faze him. Manning truly seems flustered only when he's far from the field, standing in a locker room to talk about his remarkable performances.

In his latest brilliant display, Manning threw for six touchdowns in less than three quarters and raised his season total to 41 TD passes, leading the Indianapolis Colts past the Detroit Lions 41-9.

He set an NFL record with at least four TD passes in a fifth consecutive game -- and he did it by halftime. Dan Marino had a four-game streak with at least four TDs in 1984, when he also set a league mark with 48 TD passes in a season.

"I feel uncomfortable talking about anything individual," said Manning, almost pleading to change the subject. "I just want to keep winning."

Connecting with Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley three times each for TDs, Manning finished 23-for-28 for 236 yards and zero interceptions for the AFC South-leading Colts (8-3).

Look at the performance this way: Manning had more TDs than incompletions.

"He's the best that's ever played this game as far as quarterbacks are concerned," Stokley said. "When he's retired, they'll compare everybody to Peyton Manning, without a doubt."

The reeling Lions (4-7) didn't help themselves by fumbling four times in their territory, missing a field goal and stalling repeatedly in the red zone.

Fittingly, backup quarterback Mike McMahon fumbled on the final play before scooping up the football and throwing an interception in the end zone to cap what's now a five-game losing streak.

"This is the pinnacle of those five losses," cornerback Fernando Bryant said.

The Colts replaced Manning with Jim Sorgi late in the third quarter. Otherwise, the QB would have had a shot at tying the NFL record of seven touchdown passes in a game, shared by five players: Sid Luckman, Adrian Burk, George Blanda, Y.A. Tittle and Joe Kapp.

Manning matched the Colts record he set in September 2003 against New Orleans, his father's old team. Before that performance, no one had thrown for six TDs in an NFL game in a dozen years.

With five regular-season games left, Manning already has matched Kurt Warner for third-most TD passes in a season. Marino threw 44 TDs in 1986.


No matter where Peyton Manning looked, he saw open receivers.

"Whatever record they want to break, they have a chance," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.

Marino, now a CBS analyst, was asked at halftime how teams should deal with Manning.

"Blitz him!" Marino said.

The Lions tried that at times, but they were no match for Manning's quick release and sound decision-making.

All the offense is helping the Colts overcome their less-than-stellar defense. Indianapolis has won four straight, scoring at least 40 points in each of their past three games.

Detroit and its quarterback are headed in the opposite direction.

A month ago, the Lions were being praised for their turnaround after winning an NFL-low 10 games over the past three years. They have reverted to their old ways.

Joey Harrington was 14-for-23 for 156 yards before he was benched in favor of McMahon late in the third quarter.

No such problems for the Colts. Harrison caught 12 passes for 127 yards, and Stokley had five receptions for 57 yards. Edgerrin James had 23 carries for 105 yards.

Stokley caught his three TDs in the first half, and Harrison had one of his to help the Colts take a 27-9 lead at the break.

Lions returner Eddie Drummond, who has scored on four punt and kickoff returns this season, left at the start of the second half with a shoulder injury that could end his season. Things got so bad for the Lions that Drummond's replacement, Reggie Swinton, fumbled on a punt return and the football was recovered by Colts punter Hunter Smith.

Detroit's subdued fans came to life when McMahon replaced Harrington late in the third quarter. But McMahon couldn't help the offense much, going 11-for-15 for 105 yards and the game-ending interception.

Mariucci said despite the change, Harrington has not lost his job.

"I thought Joey did OK, but the score got away from us, so I saw an opportunity to get Mike some much-deserved playing time," Mariucci said.

Kevin Jones ran for 99 yards on 12 carries for the Lions, who fell to 33-30-2 in their traditional Thanksgiving Day home games. The Colts handed Detroit its most lopsided loss on the holiday

Monday, November 08, 2004

Colts/Vikings = Top Offenses

By John Oehser, Colts.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The pre-game theme is obvious. The numbers make it so, and the numbers are . . . the numbers are . . .

Well, they’re stunning.

The first-ranked offense in the NFL. The second-ranked offense in the NFL.

A quarterback on one team who has thrown for five touchdowns in a game twice this season.

A quarterback on the other team who has done it three times.

It’s the Minnesota Vikings versus the Colts, two teams that have set the NFL standard this season for offensive numbers, two teams that have at times scored points in mind-boggling fashion.

It’s Monday Night Football. Michaels and Madden.

Big-time offenses in a prime-time time slot.

So, the theme is obvious, right? A shootout in the dome?

Maybe, but that’s not the way players and coaches necessarily see it, and if they do see it that way, they’re not saying.

“You have to be prepared to do whatever the game dictates,” Colts wide receiver Brandon Stokley said as the defending AFC South-champion Colts (4-3) prepared to play the NFC North-leading Vikings (5-2) Monday at 9 p.m. in the RCA Dome.

“If we have to score 60, then 60’s what we have to do. If it’s a low-scoring game, then we’ve just got to score one more point than them. That’s our goal every game.

“It’s hard to say. Each game takes up its own little game of itself.”

Neither the Colts nor Vikings have scored 60 points this season, but both teams have done things offensively that few teams in the NFL can match.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us against a very good offensive team that’s playing better on defense,” Colts tight end Marcus Pollard said. “It’s our turn for us to win at home, and that’s the key for us — to show the rest of the country what kind of team we can be.”

The Colts have scored at least 31 points in a game four times this season, and for the season, they are averaging 31 points per game. The Vikings have scored at least 34 points in a game three times this season, and for the season, they are averaging 26 points a game.

The numbers of the quarterbacks are even more overwhelming.

Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings’ quarterback and the NFC’s starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl last season, has completed 183 of 259 passes this season for 2,180 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions. Culpepper threw five touchdown passes in the season opener against Dallas, then did it twice on back-to-back weeks against Houston and New Orleans.

His 113.7 passer rating is on pace to break the NFL record of 112.4 set by Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers.

“They throw some balls that no one in the league throws, and they have a quarterback who — other than (Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb) and (Falcons quarterback) Michael Vick, — you don’t see quarterbacks make as many plays outside the framework and structure of the offense as this guy does,” Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. “They have a lot of weaponry.

“When everybody is healthy, they’re one of the best offenses in the league.”

Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss, a five-time Pro Bowl selection who has eight touchdown receptions this season, has been limited the last two games with a hamstring injury. He is questionable for Monday’s game.

Peyton Manning, the Colts’ quarterback and the NFL’s co-Most Valuable Player last season, has completed 156 of 240 passes for 2,161 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions. He threw five touchdown passes in a victory over Green Bay, and did it again in a loss to Kansas City last Sunday.

Manning’s passer rating through seven games: 117.4.

The Colts enter the game ranked 32nd defensively in the NFL overall and 32nd against the pass. Last week against the Chiefs, they allowed 590 yards and six touchdowns.

“It’s a perfect opportunity because it’s Monday Night Football, and you’re playing against a high-caliber offense,” Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said.

The Vikings’ defense is ranked 25th in the NFL, 27th against the pass.

“We’re hoping they don’t score 45 points on us,” Tice said. “You have to prepare yourself to stop the other offense. Does it always work out that way? Not usually.

“I don’t think we can stop them. I’m sure they’re trying to do the same thing with their defense.”

The Colts, after winning four consecutive games after a season-opening loss to New England, lost 27-24 to the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago, then lost, 45-35, to the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City.

“This is an important game,” Manning said. “We’d like to make a little bit of a run here if we can. We’ve lost two in a row. That’s disappointing and it’s a little bit of uncharted territory. Hopefully, with the veterans we have, we can rebound and we can bounce back.

“We have two games at home here, and obviously, it starts with Minnesota Monday night.

“Obviously, it’d be nice to win this one and get on a little bit of a roll here.”

The Colts, who hadn’t lost back-to-back games since November of 2002, enter Monday’s game tied with the Houston Texans (4-3) for second in the AFC South, a half-game behind Jacksonville (5-3).

Jacksonville is idle this weekend and the Texans visit Denver (5-3). The Colts will play host to the Texans next Sunday at the RCA Dome.

“Coach Dungy always points out where we are as compared to other teams in the AFC,” Manning said. “Were kind of in the middle right now, so we’d like to get on a little winning streak and move ourselves toward the top of the AFC if we can.

“We’re 4-3 and we’d like to be 5-3 after Monday. Certainly, that’s what we’re playing for — the AFC South. We can’t control what everybody else is doing and who else wins and who loses. We can control our team and we’re going to try to take care of our business.”

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

From DE to LB

From ESPN.com

The Colts are searching for other ways to involve DE Robert Mathis, who leads the team with five sacks. Mathis is too light to play the DLE spot every down, but he’s been tried at weak-side linebacker. WLB Cato June is among the team leaders in tackles, but he’s been mistake-prone in his first season as a starter. Mathis is an option, but he isn’t likely to play linebacker much this season. “It’s possible,” Mathis told PFW, adding that there are many obstacles in the move from the line to linebacker. “Just getting the instincts of a linebacker. I’ve been a defensive lineman all my career. I know what the D-line is doing. Once I get the (LB) instincts, I’ll be all right.” Mathis has very good speed and athleticism, but the coaching staff won’t expose him at linebacker until he’s 100 percent comfortable.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

2004 Schedule

Here's the 2004 Indianapolis Colts Schedule from NFL.com:

2004 Preseason
Date Opponent Time/Result
Aug. 14 at San Diego 10:00 p.m.
Aug. 21 New York 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 28 Buffalo 8:00 p.m.
Sept. 3 at Cincinnati 7:30 p.m.

2004 Schedule
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 9 at New England 9:00 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 26 Green Bay 4:15 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 10 Oakland 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 Open Date
Oct. 24 Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Kansas City 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 8 Minnesota 9:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 Houston 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 21 at Chicago 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 25 at Detroit 12:30 p.m.
Dec. 5 Tennessee 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 12 at Houston 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 19 Baltimore 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 26 San Diego 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 2 at Denver 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Colts Collective Under Construction

This new Indianapolis Colts page is still under construction, but soon updates will be added so come back and see us!