NFL Report

Long winning streaks are nothing new to the Indianapolis Colts.
Their 14-0 start and NFL-record regular-season winning streak of 23 straight games are remarkable achievements. But the Colts streaks shouldn’t come as a surprise when you look back on their recent history.
In 2004, the Colts started 4-3 and won their next eight games in a row. They finished the regular season with a 12-4 record. The next season, in 2005, Indianapolis marched to a 13-0 record before losing to San Diego at home, finishing the season two weeks later at 14-2.
In their Super Bowl championship season of 2006, the Colts won nine straight to begin the year and finished 12-4. They started 2007 with a 7-0 mark, ending the regular season at 13-3. And they began their current regular-season winning streak last season when they had a 3-4 record, finishing with nine consecutive victories to finish 12-4.
The only interruption in the Colts current streak was a 23-17 overtime loss to the Chargers in the AFC wild-card round of the playoffs last season. (Indianapolis’ last regular-season loss came on Oct. 27, 2008 by a 31-21 score at Tennessee.)
“You try to tell these guys that when you win a couple in a row, or three or four in a row, this is not normal,” Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said following a 27-17 win over Tennessee in Week 13 that gave the Colts 12 wins in a season for a record seventh consecutive year.
“It’s not normal to win 10 or 11 or 12 games every year,” Manning added. “But these guys that have been here five years would tell me it is normal for us. That’s all they’ve done.”
The Colts still have a chance at a perfect and abnormal, 16-0 regular season, something only the 2007 New England Patriots have achieved.

Hasn’t Been Easy
Of the Colts 14 wins this season, seven have come when trailing in the fourth quarter. Indianapolis pulled off another fourth-quarter come-from-behind victory last week at Jacksonville, when Manning hit Reggie Wayne with a 65-yard touchdown pass with 5 minutes 32 seconds to play for a 35-31 lead.
Rookie cornerback Jacob Lacey secured the 35-31 win with an interception with 0:56 left. Manning, who led the Colts 70 yards in three plays and 42 seconds on the game-winning drive, now has engineered 43 career fourth-quarter comebacks.
“This is who we are,” Wayne said. “We’re built for 60 minutes. It won’t be pretty all the time, but we’re getting it done.”

StatsWatch
The Indianapolis Colts have won an NFL record 115 games in this decade, the most for any decade. The previous record before the Colts set it in Week 14 was 113 by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1990s. Here is the Colts regular-season record for this decade:

  • 2000: 10-6
  • 2001:  6-10
  • 2002: 10-6
  • 2003: 12-4
  • 2004: 12-4
  • 2005: 14-2
  • 2006: 12-4
  • 2007: 13-3
  • 2008: 12-4
  • 2009: 14-0*
    *Two games remaining.

Awards

  • Go-To Receiver: Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall set an NFL record with 21 receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game at Indianapolis in Week 14. That broke Terrell Owens mark of 20 catches with the San Francisco 49ers nine years ago.
  • Another 10-Td Season: Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has his ninth consecutive season of at least 10 touchdowns, extending his NFL record.

Did You Know?
San Francisco’s Alex Smith is the first 49ers quarterback to throw for two-plus touchdowns in four straight games since Jeff Garcia did it in 2003.

Sidelines
The Dallas Cowboys gave 3-D glasses to more than 90,000 fans in Week 14 to view the game on the giant video boards hanging above the field. But the experiment didn’t make it past the first quarter, much to the fans delight…The Colts’ Peyton Manning is the first quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in 10 seasons. Former Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino is second with six seasons…Jacksonville’s game against Indianapolis last week was its final home game of the season, and first sellout with 63,753 fans in attendance. It also was the first Jacksonville home game this year that wasn’t blacked out on local television. The Jaguars were blacked out for nine consecutive home games, including two preseason contests. There were 17,000 Jaguars season ticket holders who did not renew this season.

Copyright © 2009 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


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