After escaping from Nashville's LP Field Sunday with a 22-20 win over the Tennessee Titans, the Indianapolis Colts know that they have a lot of work to do before they take on the Houston Texans this week.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the two team's recent histories, the game will have first place in the AFC South on the line. Both the Colts and Texans taking 2-0 records into the match up, with Indianapolis being 1-0 in the division. This week's game will be Houston's first of the season against an AFC South opponent.
"I think every divisional game is going to be like this," Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett said after the win over the Titans, looking back at the Tennessee game and a quick glance ahead to the trip to Houston. "It's no longer the situation where we are so high and everyone is so far behind. Any given Sunday, either team has the possibility of winning.
"We respect the teams we play. That is our mind set. We don't think anyone is going to lay down because the champions of last year are coming in. If anything, I think it motivates teams more to give us their best shot."
Defensive tackle Raheem Brock agrees.
"Everybody is trying to beat us, especially in our own division. Our division is getting real good. Everybody is circling us on their schedule and comparing their team to our team," Brock said. "How they do against us is how they are going to judge how good their team is. We know we are going to get everybody's best and we have to give them our best."
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said even though a lot of starters from last year's Super Bowl winning team are back, this year's Colts team is still trying to find its identity.
"We have a fairly new team. Some of our players from last year's team were playing for the Titans and we've got some of them playing for other teams. We feel like it is kind of like a new team and trying to establish our identity," Manning pointed out.
"I think we'll do that throughout the season. You certainly like to be able to win your first home game and your first road game. We've done that so far. And we're going to try and keep it going against Houston next week."
The Indianapolis signal caller will take the win over the Titans, despite the fact that the Colts didn't play as well as expected. Now, he's ready to move on and begin preparations for Houston.
"You take the win and you run with it and you enjoy it," he said. "But certainly, but when we look at the film, (of the Tennessee game), we'll see some things we'll need to build on and we need to be a little sharper on. In the red zone, we got down there a number of times (against the Titans) and we had to settle for too many field goals. That is something that you want to try to fix."
--QB Peyton Manning completed 28-of-42 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown in the win over Tennessee. Manning also had one pass interception in the game.
--TE Dallas Clark had a game-high seven catches for 69 yards and hauled in a 22-yard scoring pass.
--RB Joseph Addai ran for a game-high 81 yards in 20 carries against the Titans. Addai also had an eight-yard touchdown run in the game.
--S Bob Sanders recorded the first sacks of his four-year NFL career. Sanders ended the game with a game-high 11 total tackles with two-and-a-half sacks and three quarterback hurries against the Titans.
--WR Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts' number one draft pick in 2007, recorded his first NFL catch late in the second quarter. Gonzalez ended up with three catches for 49 yards in the game.
--PK Adam Vinatieri hit on three of four field-goal attempts against Tennessee. But Vinatieri had an uncharacteristically up-and-down game, having one PAT attempt blocked, a field-goal attempt tipped that eventually pinballed its way through the uprights and then was wide left on a 36-yard effort that could have given the Colts some breathing room late in the game. He did connect on kicks from 22, 39 and 20 yards.
--LB Freddy Keiaho (elbow) was a pregame inactive. Keiaho suffered a dislocated right elbow in the first quarter of the season opener with New Orleans. Despite playing the entire game with the injury, he was held out of practice last week. He may be able to play at Houston this week.
--LB Tyjuan Hagler made his first-ever NFL start for the Colts at weakside linebacker, replacing Keiaho. Hagler recorded five total tackles, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble.
--LB Rob Morris (ribs) was a pregame inactive. Morris suffered a strained muscle in practice on Friday. He should be able to see some practice time this week.
--LB Rocky Boiman made his first career start for the Colts at strong-side linebacker, replacing Morris. Boiman, playing against the team that originally drafted him, had one solo tackle in the game.
--OT Charlie Johnson (knee) was a pregame inactive. Johnson may begin practicing with the team again this week.