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18 Nov 2006

Game Previews: IND-DAL, SD-DEN

by Aaron Schatz


(Sunday, 4:15 pm)

For the second straight year, the Indianapolis Colts have made it past the season's halfway point without a loss. Only three teams with winning records remain on their schedule, but Dallas may be the biggest obstacle between the Colts and a perfect season.

By wins and losses, the Colts are far superior to the Cowboys. In reality, the two teams are very close. Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings (DVOA) -- which break down each play of the season and compare it to the NFL average based on situation and opponent -- rank the Cowboys a surprising sixth, while the Colts are just one spot higher. The Colts may be undefeated, but only two of those wins have come by more than a touchdown, and they've had trouble pulling away from opponents both good and bad.

Two other factors make the Cowboys the favorites to hand the Colts their first loss. Dallas may not be Buffalo, but there's a difference between playing in a dome and playing outside as the sun sets on a November afternoon. More importantly, the Cowboys are similar to two teams that beat the Colts last year, San Diego and Pittsburgh.

Those similarities start with the Cowboys' 3-4 defensive scheme. The Colts offense is based on quarterback Peyton Manning adjusting plays at the line, and he historically has trouble against the 3-4 because the identity of the pass-rushers before the snap is hard to discern.

IND Offense, Week-by-Week
Week vs. DVOA VOA
1 NYG 30.8% 13.6%
2 HOU 48.2% 57.3%
3 JAC 36.8% 10.5%
4 NYJ 27.9% 43.6%
5 TEN -8.6% -0.9%
7 WAS 45.6% 57.4%
8 DEN 70.9% 68.6%
9 NE 19.9% 21.8%
10 BUF 39.4% 35.2%

Fans may think that Indianapolis's recent win over New England exposed Manning's 3-4 problems as a myth, but that's not the case. After adjusting for strength of schedule with DVOA, two of the three lowest-rated games for the Colts offense are the game in New England and the only other game against a 3-4 team, a last-minute victory over the Jets.

The Cowboys love to bring pressure from their linebackers, and DeMarcus Ware would love to rattle Manning just like past nemeses Joey Porter, Shawne Merriman, and Willie McGinest. The Colts do get a break now that linebacker Greg Ellis, second on the team in sacks, is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Losing a veteran at linebacker means the Cowboys need to start getting production from rookie Bobby Carpenter, their first-round draft pick who has hardly even set foot on the field this year.

Another popular strategy against the Colts is to leave defensive backs all back in coverage, shutting down long passes to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and forcing Manning to build drives around dink-and-dunk passes to open tight ends and running backs. This is the strategy that both Tennessee and Buffalo used in their near-upsets, the only two games this year where the Colts have scored less than 21 points.

Most fans, when they think of the Dallas pass defense, remember a series of long bombs in nationally televised games against Philadelphia and the Giants. Those plays make it hard to believe that the Cowboys could stop the Colts from throwing deep, no matter how many defensive backs are in coverage.

But that was just five plays; consider every play this season, and the Cowboys are actually an above-average defense against wide receivers. More importantly, all five of those plays were blown in large part by one player, rookie safety Pat Watkins, who has since been benched. With veteran Keith Davis starting instead of Watkins, the Cowboys' pass defense has climbed from 29th to 18th over the past three weeks.

With defensive backs in coverage so often, Colts running back Joseph Addai usually sees just six or seven defenders in the box. That's a big reason why the Colts are the best team in the league running up the middle or behind the guards. But with nose tackle Jason Ferguson blocking the way, this happens to be the strength of the Cowboys' run defense as well. Overall, the Cowboys are third in the NFL, allowing just 3.5 yards per carry.

The bad news for Dallas is that their biggest defensive weakness matches the popular strategy they are likely to play against the Colts. The Cowboys give up a lot of yards and first downs on passes to tight ends and running backs. Maybe he won't hit Harrison for any 50-yard bombs, but Manning should have no problem slowly marching the Colts down the field with passes to Addai and tight ends Dallas Clark and Ben Utecht.

Therefore, it isn't enough to slow the Colts; you have to outscore them. This is another place where Dallas fits the mold of teams that beat the Colts: a big-time running game, and a variety of weapons in the passing game.

The Dallas ground attack, led by the one-two punch of Julius Jones and Marion Barber, ranks fourth in the league in DVOA. The Cowboys have more runs from running backs than any other team -- surprising, considering that teams usually pile up carries while closing out wins, and nine teams have won more games than the Cowboys.

The Colts have played their two best defensive games of the season in the last two weeks, but they still rank 29th in DVOA run defense and allow more than five yards per carry. Their chances of stopping Dallas get a lot better if safety Bob Sanders can play; after returning from a month-long injury, he made a huge impact against New England, then had to sit out again last week.

Using Sanders or another safety to stop the run leaves things open for the pass, and the Colts' defense is below average there too. Although sack totals are down this season, the strength of the Colts defense is still the pass rush. That would have been a great weapon against Drew Bledsoe, but the Cowboys replaced Bledsoe with Tony Romo specifically because of Romo's ability to avoid both sacks and bad decisions under pressure.

Romo will have plenty of weapons downfield to choose from, because Dallas has the best receiving corps in the league. The Colts often control the opponent's best receiver, but give up big plays to other guys. Against the Colts, Jerricho Cotchery outgained Laveranues Coles, Eric Moulds outgained Andre Johnson, and David Kirkus outgained Javon Walker. Between Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton, and Jason Witten, someone is bound to get open.

This game should have a lot of offense, and a lot of long drives. The Colts are the only team in the league to convert more than half of their third-down opportunities, and the Cowboys rank second at 49 percent. Although the Dallas defense is above-average stopping third-down conversions, Indianapolis ranks 30th.

Dallas has all of the ingredients needed to upset the Colts: home field, a running game, a varied passing attack, and a 3-4 defense. Of course, New England had all these ingredients as well, and the Colts won anyway. Even if you can play the right cards against the Colts, sometimes the Peyton Manning card will just trump them all.

An edited version of this article appeared in Friday's edition of the New York Sun.


(Sunday, 8:15pm)

This game preview is a bit different than usual. Most readers know that I write these previews for the New York Sun, then run them on FO the next day. I generally begin by going through all my spreadsheets and collecting tidbits of information that will be useful for the article. Then I form sentences around those tidbits.

The plan this week was to write 500 words on Colts-Cowboys, and 500 on Chargers-Broncos. After I started writing, it was clear that I was going to hit my word limit on the Colts-Cowboys game alone. But I collected some interesting notes on the Chargers and Broncos, and I don't want them to go to waste. Therefore, FO readers get to enjoy them exclusively, and we're gonna do it notebook-style:

  • The Chargers offense can match the Broncos defense strength for strength. The Chargers offense ranks third in the league on both third down and in the red zone. The Broncos defense ranks second in the league on third down and first in the red zone. By the way, although the Broncos are still number one, over the past few weeks their red-zone DVOA has moved much closer in line with the rest of their defensive DVOA.
  • Fans might look at Chad Johnson's 260-yard day against the Chargers and assume that San Diego will be unable to stop Denver's Javon Walker. But before Sunday's shootout with Cincinnati, starting wide receivers averaged just 44 yards per game against the Chargers, and Isaac Bruce of St. Louis was the only one to gain more than 80 yards receiving.
  • According to DVOA, only Chicago and Jacksonville are better than Denver when it comes to shutting down passes to wide receivers. But Denver ranks 22nd against tight ends and 29th against running backs. Philip Rivers is the only quarterback in the league to throw more than half his passes to tight ends or running backs. Denver's poor record against tight ends and running backs seems a bit odd considering how well-regarded their linebackers and safeties are; we probably need to watch some tape closely to figure out if this is a scheme issue. And yes, sometimes Champ Bailey will be on Antonio Gates.
  • Before Matt Lepsis was injured, the Broncos averaged five yards per carry on runs to the left side. In the past three weeks, they have averaged 1.8 yards per carry. (Note: that's actual yards, not adjusted line yards.)
  • The Chargers defense does not start games well; only the 49ers are worse in the first quarter. But the Broncos will have a hard time taking advantage, since their own offense is ranked 28th in the first quarter.
  • In his FOX rundown, Mike Tanier picked the Chargers in this game, but I would give the edge to Denver. While I do think the Chargers are the slightly better team overall, I also think each team should be favored to win at home. I still hold to my preseason prediction: even though only two games are now decided by prior season record, that's enough to give the Chargers the edge on Denver. The difference between the AFC West title and the wild card will be the difference between stomping Tennessee and losing to Indianapolis.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 18 Nov 2006

33 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2006, 11:27am by Rick


by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:23pm

"Dallas may not be Buffalo, but there’s a difference between playing in a dome and playing outside as the sun sets on a November afternoon."

It's supposed to be in the 60s and sunny tomorrow in Texas. It will be a lot nicer there than it was in New England.

by johnt (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:31pm

I never really thought I'd see a case where the 9-0 team is practically an underdog in the press to a 5-4 team. Really, the popular media storyline this week seems to be all about how the Cowboys will win.

Quite a contrast from last year's 9-0 Colts media frenzy. I'm somewhat of the opinion that the Colts offense has done the minimum needed to win games and has the ability to kick it up if needed, but we shall see.

by admin :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:35pm

That's an improved forecast from when I wrote this a couple days ago, but remember that it is a 4pm game, not a 1pm game.

by Nuk (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:57pm

East Coast media bias. Dallas is in Central time - it's a 3pm game.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:57pm

The Matt Lepsis stat is really illuminating.

He's right up there with the best tackles, and what's even more amazing is how much of a steal he was. Most people would say the best tackles in recent years have been Willie Roaf (8th overall) Walter Jones (6th overall) Orlando Pace (1st overall) Jon Ogden (4th overall) and Lepsis (undrafted free agent). One of these things is not like the others.

As for Colts/Cowboys, I think the Colts win. There's no way Tony Romo keeps up with Peyton Manning in one of his first career starts, no matter how much better the rest of his team is.

by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:06pm

New England was an 8pm game, and far colder. Unless it's wet or VERY cold, weather just isn't much of a problem for the Colts.

Yeah, they're a dome team, we know that. But simply assuming that it will cause them to do poorly in an outside game in November is something I would expect Mike Patrick or Joe Theismann to do, not you guys.

by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:11pm

As a Dallas fan, it terrifies me that the media is widely picking Dallas over Indy (Although I do believe more in the FO pick than in the PK pick). I think this will be a very good game, but I don't know if the matchup is as even as everyone says. I think penalties will hurt Dallas a lot, which no one has really mentioned. I also think the separation between Dallas and Indy is a lot wider than DVOA lets us realize. Inexperienced QB, inexperienced LB, a WR and a K with a lot to prove, and not a lot to prove it with.
On the flip side, I think the assertion that the Colts have been purposefully holding back is ridiculous. Given the level of competition in the league, why would anyone do that? I can see playing without a sense of urgency (Which we've seen a lot this year from them) but not playing with the intent to be sub-standard. And hopefully, that lack of urgency will bleed over into this game with Dallas.

by the K (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 8:31pm

Hey Aaron. Just because I like you, here's a question that's not about Colts-Cowboys, AND about DVOA.

You wrote: "Fans might look at Chad Johnson’s 260-yard day against the Chargers and assume that San Diego will be unable to stop Denver’s Javon Walker. But before Sunday’s shootout with Cincinnati, starting wide receivers averaged just 44 yards per game against the Chargers, and Isaac Bruce of St. Louis was the only one to gain more than 80 yards receiving."

I know you referenced yardage instead of DVOA but my question is this: Does DVOA figure in the strength of the other top receiver on the team when it counts receiver DVOA? I didn't look at the DVOA before posting this like I probably should, but I can't help but think that Bruce is opposite Holt and Chad Johnson is across from Houshmadaddy, at least until he was decapitated by McCree. That could explain the explosion of Johnson and the above average performance of Bruce.

by johnt (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:02pm

7: I never said they were purposefully holding back. I said they were doing the minimum to win games, meaning they are taking very few chances. Vs the Bills they played ultraconservatively knowing how bad their offense was, constantly taking the checkdown and never taking very much in the way of risks. My point is not that they're not trying, but that their offensive strategy could put up way more points (at the cost of increased risk) if it had to (see: NE game).

by Richard (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:36pm

8: Decapitated by Randall Godfrey.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:14pm

My point is not that they’re not trying, but that their offensive strategy could put up way more points (at the cost of increased risk) if it had to (see: NE game).

The Colts were put at plenty of risk by only having a one-point lead over the Bills. Heck, the Bills should've taken the lead in the 4th quarter.

I highly doubt that they're trying to be more conservative to stay safe (other than the last drive of the game, but that's typical). Most of the Colts drives that didn't involve them scoring were stopped by turnovers (two), and penalties (one). Only two were simply failed execution of plays, which depending on the play design could be construed as 'playing it safe.'

I don't see how the Colts could "kick it up if needed" based on that. They were "kicking it up" plenty fine in that game - they just shot themselves in the foot over half the time.

by Jake (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:17pm

Do the Colts practice outside at all? If not, why wouldn't they before away games at least. If so, I'm not sure why the weather factor would be brought up at all, since it'd be a hell of a lot colder in Indy than in Dallas.

by Jesus Christ (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 10:30pm

The Dallas veteran safety that you mentioned is now starting is named Keith Davis, not Keith Adams.

Also, given 2nd WR's effectiveness against the Colts secondary, should I start Glenn on sunday? My other WR's are D. Jackson @ SF, Houshmandzedah @ NO, A. Johnson @ BUF.

I also have 3 stud RB's with good matchups this weekend, and have to pick 2: Parker @ CLE, Westbrook at TEN, R. Johnson @ NO. I am leaning towards the first two.

by chris clark (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:16pm

Thanks Aaron for a wonderful write-up on both games. This shows the real insight of the DVOA, which is not its one number power ranking, but the other stats that you have at your disposal to dig deeper than that and give sound analysis that is hard to come by elsewhere.

One little minor note, in the last paragraph on the SD-Den game you managed to give the edge to both the Broncos and the Chargers. I presume, you mean that you are giving the Broncos the edge in this game as you state first, but giving the Chargers the edge on the season, i.e. SD will be division champs. I hope you are right (about the game) and home field advantage is enough to put Den over SD in this game. I worry that Den is, as a 10th place DVOA would suggest, a good but not great team this year and destined to be a wildcard team in the playoffs. However, winning this game would certainly improve their chances of being a Division champ, since they currently have a better record against teams in the division than SD.

by BG (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:13am

I agree JohnT you would think that the Colts had no hope. Somehow they've lucked their way to 9 wins this year. The Colts are going to be able to score, and the question should be if Romo can handle the pressure of needing to score every time Dallas has the ball. If Dallas doesn't go ultra conservative on offense I think he makes some mistakes.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 4:13am

Aaron, thanks for an excellent article, though I still quibble with the "trouble" tag on Manning's 3-4 performances. (less excellent? merely good? above NFL-average? none come trippingly off the tongue, but this has been gone over a lot recently. I know Ned did thorough research and his performance dips a bit, but his ratings and results are still pretty good in those games--most other QBs would be happy to have them.). I thought the description of the last-minute win at NYJ was a mite disingenuous, since they went back and forth a lot, then pulled ahead with about 2 minutes to go, only to have a KO returned 103 yards for a TD, so then they had to re-group. And of course pulled it off. It wasn't like they were trailing for 59 minutes and just scraped it out.

I like your logic and particularly your structure, which basically sets it up as a 51/49 chance of a Dal win, with your last sentence just like those last minutes of a game. "Hay, Dal just went up by 3 with a minute left. Prettymuch as we figured. Oh no, Manning has three timesouts. Uh-oh."

Aaron, do you really feel that Dal stands a better chance than Philly? hmmmm.

Pat, you made the comment about Indy not being able to "kick it up if needed" against Buffalo, but do you honestly think they were trying to score on their final 6:22 drive? And do you really think that if they tried, they would not have made it happen? Four years ago, Manning would have scored in two minutes or less, leaving the Bills with 4 minutes to return the favor. Critics would have carped "Statboy!" and fans would have said "Jeez, the D let us down again." In fact, that 6:22 clock killer was exactly what they needed, not another score. Buff knew, more or less what was coming, and could not stop it.

I don't buy the "play conservative to stay safe" logic--I think it's nuts, really. Just as dangerous to throw 5 yards to Marvin than 50. Moreso, really. No decapitating LBs 50 yards down field. And I don't think they go into the games tinking "let's win by 7." In fact, given their D weaknesses, the safest strategy wold be to run up big scores and let the DL try to make some plays. Not play it close.

I am thrilled that the media are now more interested in looking for their flaws this year--of which there are many--instead of talking about perfection.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 5:11am

And yes, sometimes Champ Bailey will be on Antonio Gates.

Actually, from what I've seen (and I admit, it's very hard to see the coverages on every play), Denver hasn't used Champ Bailey on Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez much, if at all, in the past season and a half (since the start of 2005). Champ separated his shoulder in week 1 against Miami last year, and the coaches thought that Gates would be too physical of a matchup for a CB with one bum shoulder, so Coyer designed his "big nickle" defense, which is nickle with a safety as the 5th DB, and the safety responsible for Gates with some occasional linebacker help. It worked so well that Coyer adopted it as his standard defensive plan.

That "Big Nickle" DB was Sam Brandon, who was lost for the season against Pittsburgh, so I'm interested to see how Denver adapts. They might put Bailey back on Gates, or they might bring up Curome Cox, their next safety (who they're pretty high on, long-term) and see if he's ready to hang with the big boys.

I know it's hardly hard evidence, but I went through the game logs of every KC and SD game since the beginning of the 2005 season. In those logs, I found 17 passes intended for Gonzo and 17 passes intended for Gates. Of the 17 passes intended for Gates, Bailey wasn't involved on any of the plays. Of the 17 passes intended for Gonzo, Bailey was involved on three. One was an assisted tackle with Sam Brandon, one was an INT off of a deflected pass intended for Gonzo, and one was a straight-up tackle. Again, I know the data isn't perfect (for instance, a handful of those Gates targets came in the second half of week 17 after Bailey had sat for the game), but it does seem to support my observation that Bailey has rarely been playing on the TEs over the past year and a half. Almost all of the defenders involved on the plays with Gonzo and Gates were either Safeties or LBs (with a very few plays involving a DE or a CB).

by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 5:29am

Aaron, you make this blanket statement: "Romo will have plenty of weapons downfield to choose from, because Dallas has the best receiving corps in the league. "

That's quite a statement, given that Dallas is playing Indy, whose top two receivers are #2 & #3 in DPAR and PAR, and #5 & #9 in DVOA.

Let's see, Dallas receivers are listed: #20 & #25 in DPAR, #18 & #21 in PAR, and #37 & #24 in DVOA.

Am I missing something here? Crayton's DPAR puts him in the teens and #1 in DVOA, but is he better than Harrison or Wayne? And Whitten is #8 DPAR for TE's, #13 in DVOA, which is good, but is it head and shoulders better than Dallas Clark (#10 & #7).

For an article that so depends on DVOA to analyze the Colts and Cowboys as teams (offense and defense), it's odd to make sure an unqualified statement as the one above when the Colts receivers, by the FO stats, should at least be in the argument.

by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 5:32am

Sorry, that last line should read "to make such an unqualified"

by Ilanin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 11:05am

Colts receivers, by the FO stats, should at least be in the argument.

FO stats acknowledge that they don't distinguish between the play of the reciever and the play of the quarterback on this issue, so one might argue that the performance of the Colts recievers is the Peyton Manning card again.

I wouldn't, though. I believe that Harrison, Wayne and Clark are the best triplet in the NFL, much as PAR does. Owens, Glenn and Witten would be in the mix, as would Ocho Cinco, Housh and Henry. (Note that DVOA loves the Pittsburgh trio of Ward, Washington and Holmes as well, but that has at least as much to do with the Whisenhunt gameplan as natural skill, I think).

by Jim (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:14pm

Perhaps I should restate my situation. I’m in a league where receptions get half a point and these are the questionable positions..

I need to fill a WR, TE, and WR/RB spot with some combination of the following players. Colston(Either WR or TE), Lee Evans, LJ Smith, Leon Washington, Droughns, Mike Bell, Benson, or DeAngelo Williams. Suggestions?

by Ben (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:19pm

RE:12 Yes, the Colts do practice outside sometimes. I know they used their outdoor, grass practice field some during the week before the New England game.

This week, having not heard otherwise, I'd assume they practiced on their regular indoor, field turf practice field though.

by Nick (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:57pm

Jake (12), that's an excellent comment. In fact the Colts do practice outdoors very frequently just prior to games on grass/in the elements, or at least, they 'open the doors' to their indoor practice facility. As you note, it can get a hell of a lot colder in Indy, even in an indoor practice arena.

by Nick (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:45pm

Sorry, didn't refresh.

by turbohapy (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 3:26pm

Re: 12

Usually they just open the (huge) doors to the practice facility so it's really cold. Although occasionally they do practice outside.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:12am

Does FO still stand by the assertion that San Diego would have been even a little better off had they not traded for LT, or has this season tipped the scales sufficiently?

by noah of the ark (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:28am

And... the two teams really did look pretty even out there today. And Dallas did win, as expected (lol).

I think the Colts are weird. I don't think they hold back, but something about Dungy and the play calling makes it look like they could score more if they wanted, but believe it a wiser philosophy to run the ball and stay balanced. That way plan B (going all out) is always available in case of emergency, instead of being all you have and if it fails, you're done for.

But wasn't that last year? Hm...

by admin :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:29am

Re: 26, not only do I have no idea what article you might be referring to that would suggest that LaDainian Tomlinson is not a useful player, but I am afraid that once again I have to remind the readers of the shocking fact that the Football Outsiders writing staff DOES NOT SHARE A HIVE MIND. There is no such thing as "FO's assertion." A specific writer makes an assertion.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:36am

28: I'm not sure who wrote it, but in PFP06, there's an essay titled "The Vick-Tomlinson Trade, Five Years Later." It doesn't suggest that Tomlinson isn't useful, but that the Chargers would have been a little better off had they not made the trade. Sorry for calling it an FO assertion, but I wasn't sure who wrote it. Also, it was a real question, not some kind of "You were stupid and wrong" insult. I didn't mean for it to sound that way.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:37am

29: It was Tim Gerheim.

by admin :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:42am

Read it again. I believe the point of the article is that the Falcons made a bad trade, not the Chargers.

by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:49am

31: "Both teams would have been at least a little better off not trading." - Gerheim

by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 11:27am

Does this victory legitimize talk of the Cowboys as a serious Super Bowl threat? Or is it still just "Bears and everybody else" (or in my mind, "Bears and Panthers and everybody else")??

Don't you find all the talk (see si.com and espn.com) about how the Colts have "the pressure off" to be a bit silly? If the Colts are feeling pressure at the prospect of going undefeated, how will they ever learn to handle playoff pressure? Good winning teams don't give a damn about the "pressure" that comes with winning. This chatter is the kind of thing that makes me wonder if the Colts can ever truly succeed in the postseason.

That, and their run defense.