Colts Notebook: Jan. 20

The Colts know what might have been. Had the Colts continued to play their starters in the team's next-to-last regular season game with the New York Jets, there's a better than even chance that Jets wouldn't have even made the playoffs this year.

Indianapolis had a 15-10 lead when the starters were pulled and the Colts' first-team offense had taken the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the field for a touchdown.

As it was, New York went on to post a 29-15 win and then routed Cincinnati in the final game of the regular season a week later. So it's a hot Jets team that will visit Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday for the second time in less than a month.

"If it's not them, it's someone else," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said after watching the Rex Ryan's team advance with a 17-14 AFC divisional playoff win over San Diego. "Somebody's going to be there and whoever it is, is going to be a good football team.

"It's a real challenge for us. They are a team that's hot right now. They've taken advantage of their opportunities and whomever they've played, they've found a way to win."

Caldwell says that he didn't have a preference on who the Colts would face in the conference title game. He's just happy being one of the two remaining teams.

"I don't think there's a better position to be in," he said. "Somebody can tell me if there is. That's what you strive for."

NOTES, QUOTES:

— QB Peyton Manning needs 57 yards to pass Dan Marino for fourth on the NFL's postseason passing list. Manning now has 4,454 passing yards.

— RB Joseph Addai has heard all the talk about how the Colts' offense hasn't put up huge statistics as compared to past seasons. But Addai isn't concerned.

"I think everybody has been watching what happened in the past. You've got to understand, we've been watching the same thing too. We've been doing the same thing," he said.

"But each year is a different year. Understanding what we have as a unit and just go out there and play each game as it's our last and not worried about what happened in the past."

— WR Reggie Wayne has nine postseason receiving touchdowns, and one more will lift him into a tie for third with Fred Biletnikoff, Antonio Freeman and Randy Moss. No. 1 is Jerry Rice with 22.

WR Pierre Garcon has gotten noticed for the play he made against Ravens when he ran down FS Ed Reed from behind and punched the ball away to force a fumble. The Colts recovered the ball. Reed had intercepted a pass from Manning that had been intended for Garcon.

"(Reed) took a touchdown away from me so I had to go and get it back. I was kind of upset and it helped me run faster and get the ball back," he said.

— TE Dallas Clark now has 53 postseason receptions. Among tight ends, Clark trails only Brent Jones (60) and Jay Novacek and Shannon Sharpe (62 each). Clark has 726 playoff receiving yards and needs 15 to pass Jones for third.

— LB Gary Brackett continues to be impressed with weak-sided linebacker Clint Session. Session has begun to blossom this season after playing on the strong side the previous two seasons.

"Clint's been playing well all year. I think in the run game, he's a very physical player," Brackett said.

— DE Raheem Brock has seen playing time this season at both defensive end and defensive tackle. Brock has gotten work at both defensive end spots as well as both defensive tackle positions.

"We've been consistent and playing great (as a defensive unit). It starts with the two defensive tackles and works its way out. We have nice rotation and everybody is fresh," he said.

— DE Dwight Freeney has been a leader on the Colts' defensive unit all season. But as well as Indianapolis played in the AFC divisional playoff win over Baltimore, he says that the Colts can continue to improve.

"I think we can. As far as defense is really concerned, you can really find something on every play. So, I think defensively, you can look at something and say, 'Okay, we need to correct it.' But, I think overall, we played pretty good (against the Ravens)," Freeney said.

— PK Matt Stover has taken over for veteran PK Adam Vinatieri for the time being as Vinatieri continues to nurse a sore hip and a sore right knee.

"When the Colts called because of Adam unfortunately having the (knee) injury, I was just blessed to be able to accept the call and come out and work out for them and be with this team," Stover said.

"You can't say enough about this organization and them taking ownership of me and committing to me as they did and now they've trusted me into the playoffs. I just can't say enough about that."

— DT Daniel Muir says that the Colts defense can't rest on its laurels from the win over Baltimore.

"We have to keep going out and preparing even harder. We can be happy about (the Ravens) game for a couple of hours and then forget about it. We still have two games to win and that's the way we're going with it," Muir said.


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