Colts put tough loss behind them, look to continue winning at home
By CLIFF BRUNT The Associated Press November 21, 2012 8:29PM
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck runs off the field after their 59-24 loss to the New England Patriots in an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
INDIANAPOLIS — Bruce Arians says he has plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
“I’m thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers letting me go to be here,” he said. “Truthfully. I couldn’t think of a better place to be at this point in time and to have felt more needed probably in my entire life. So, thank you, Pittsburgh.”
The interim coach of the Colts is also thankful that last week’s game is over. The Colts were drilled 59-24 at New England and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck was inconsistent. They’ll get their chance to get back on track Sunday against Buffalo.
Luck passed for 334 yards against the Patriots, but he threw three interceptions. In the Colts’ four losses, Luck has five touchdown passes and nine interceptions. In their wins, he has seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
“If you look at all the losses, turnovers have killed us, especially on my end with fumbles or interceptions,” Luck said. “I realize I’ve got to cut down on those if we want to have a chance to win.”
Arians wants Luck to think about each aspect of his performance against New England.
“I want him to remember how well he played early and how poorly he played in the middle,” he said. “Don’t ever forget what was going on because you might play them again real soon. Don’t add up the numbers until the end of the season and just play each week.”
The numbers look good for Luck at Lucas Oil Stadium. He’s thrown eight touchdown passes and two interceptions at home, where the Colts are 4-1.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but we play well at Lucas,” Luck said. “I think it’s the familiarity, less travel, I don’t know. But we’re decent at home this year.”
In recent weeks, Arians has talked to his rookies about the “rookie wall,” a high degree of physical and mental fatigue that many first-year players deal with at the time their college seasons would normally be winding down. Now, Arians says those first year players, including Luck, aren’t rookies anymore.
“They’ve logged enough snaps to be second-or third-year players right now,” he said. “There is no such thing as a rookie wall unless you got here three weeks ago.”
Luck knows he can’t afford to get caught being drained, so he’s been extra careful to take care of himself. He also knows he can’t get into a mental rut worrying about the New England game.
“I realize I’m not allowed to feel it, especially with where this team is right now, what’s at stake,” he said. “It’s been all right to this point, and I think it would be a disservice to the teammates if I started feeling sorry for myself or down or what not. We know what’s at stake.”
Whether the Colts won or lost last week, Arians said the team’s approach must remain the same.
“We talk about the process all the time, that it has to be consistent every week, win, lose or draw,” he said. “You put that one behind you Monday night, then you move on. If you bask in the sunlight of a win, you’re going to get beat. If you pout and worry about getting beat, you’ll get beat again. It’s back to work.”
Arians said this is the time of the season where ultimate success or failure will be measured.
“This is when the big boys play — December,” he said. “November doesn’t mean a daggone thing, it’s what you do in December that they remember. These guys have a chance to do something special if they will stay in the moment and not worry about the future.”
Notes: The Colts should be relatively healthy against Buffalo. Cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) and tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) practiced in limited roles after missing last week’s game. Cory Redding (hip) expects to play after leaving the New England game in the fourth quarter.