Banged Up And Rusty
It's been a while since the Indianapolis Colts felt what it was like to lose this early.
The Colts will try to regroup from a disappointing opening week Sunday when they travel to face another disheartened team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Indiapolis -2 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 85% of bets for this game have been placed on Indiapolis -2 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Indianapolis, which last year became the first team in NFL history to open 7-0 in three straight seasons, lost 29-13 to Chicago on Sunday night, ruining the coming-out party for its new stadium. The defeat snapped a 21-game winning streak for the Colts in September and October, the longest pre-November win streak in the NFL since the 1928-32 Packers won 23 straight.
Lucas Oil Stadium looked spectacular, but the Colts were anything but on the field. Peyton Manning, who missed much of training camp and all of the preseason with left knee surgery, wasn't sharp despite throwing for 257 yards, and the Colts rushed for just 53 yards. They also lost running back Joseph Addai (head) and tight end Dallas Clark (knee) to injuries. Addai is expected to play, but there's been no word yet whether Clark will be able to suit up.
"Usually on Monday, you come in and say the tape wasn't as bad as we thought," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "But it was today. It was one of those exceptions. They played sharp, they played well and executed, and we threw our deep balls, but we really didn't get those big plays, and we got only one touchdown in the red zone."
While the offense was rusty, the lackluster play of the defense has the team worried. Indianapolis led the league in scoring defense last season, but in Week 1 it showed an inability to stop the run.
Chicago rookie Matt Forte ran for 123 yards in his first NFL start and the Bears finished with 183 yards on the ground, averaging 4.7 per carry. Now, the Colts must gear up to face electric running back Adrian Peterson and the Vikings (0-1).
"That's what we pride ourselves on, stopping the run and forcing a team to be one-dimensional," said Colts safety Bob Sanders, the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. ""It's tough. I think we need to come back and figure out what we need to get corrected.
"We've got a lot to improve on, and we've got to do it quickly or it will be the same results. We've got to not let it happen again."
Peterson and Chester Taylor helped Minnesota lead the NFL in rushing last season. In Week 1, the Vikings' running game picked up right where it left off, as Peterson had 103 yards and a touchdown while the team finished with 187 yards.
Despite Peterson's performance, the Vikings suffered a 24-19 loss to Green Bay - not what they expected after an offseason spending spree netted them Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen and wide receiver Bernard Berrian, among others.
Allen did little in his debut, and the rest of the Vikings struggled once again to defend the pass. After finishing last the league in pass defense in 2007, the Vikings let Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers complete 81.8 percent of his attempts. Minnesota's vaunted defensive line, featuring Allen and fellow Pro Bowlers Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, didn't record a sack or turnover in the game.
"For me, it burns my gut," said Allen, who didn't even record a tackle. "I feel like I could've done more to help our team win. "This is one of the least productive games I've ever had in my life, and I'm not going to let that happen again."
Minnesota, which entered the season with playoff ? and even Super Bowl ? aspirations, also needs more balanced play from its offense. Despite Peterson's production, the team failed to move the ball several times, and settled for field goals twice inside the red zone.
"I think it's all about, for us, developing consistency," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "We really lost this thing as a team ? offense, defense and special teams."
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed just 16 of 35 passes, with his last attempt an interception that effectively ended the game.
"I'm very confident. There are 15 more games,"" said Jackson, who did rush for 65 yards. "You can't turn your season up in one game."
Minnesota has lost eight of its past 10 interconference games while the Colts have won 17 of their previous 21 against NFC teams.
This is the first meeting between the teams since 2004, when the Colts won 31-28 at home. Indianapolis has lost five straight visits to Minnesota, but hasn't played at the Metrodome since 1997 - the year before Manning entered the league.
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