NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - INSIDE SLANT
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday's AFC South matchup with the Houston Texans.
With the Colts having already locked up the division title, the next goal is to finish the regular season strong and be ready to roll into the playoffs.
But that's easier said than done. Indianapolis has lost three of the last five games and the defense has been giving up yards and points by the bucketful.
If the Colts want to do any damage in the post-season, that trend has to stop. The defense will be severely tested by a 2-11 Houston team that has the ability to score quickly and often.
"It's a division game, (a) division rival. (They've) got a roster that's loaded with great talent. They've got a good football team. You look at their last six ballgames that they've played. They've lost those six ballgames by a combined total of 28 points,"head coach Chuck Pagano warned this week.
"They're coming in here to win a football game. We all know that and so we'll prepare accordingly."
Mathis and the rest of his Colts defensive teammates know all about Houston and how explosive their offense can be. The Texans jumped out to a 21-3 lead the first time the two teams faced off this season at Reliant Stadium. Quarterback Case Keenum and Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson led the way for the Houston offense.
"We have to get back to basics and do our job,"Mathis said of the Colts' recent defensive struggles. "(You) have to get (Keenum) under wraps. You just can't let him get going knowing he's the engine that drives their offensive machine. (We) have to stay on him just as much as we can."
Redding knows that it's time for Indianapolis to raise its overall game up a couple of notches.
"We got the makeup and the pieces to do this. As far as catching fire, all I know about is going back to work. Just being very detailed on the little things. That's what it boils down to. Trust and execution,"he explained.
"No matter how you slice it, whenever you look at the tape, grading myself and everybody else, (its) all about trust and execution. As long as we do that, we should be fine."
The fact that Sunday's game features another AFC South opponent makes it even more important. The Colts are already 4-0 in the division with Houston and Jacksonville remaining on the schedule.
"We got to go out and win those games in our division. We want to keep the presence of dominance in the league as far as our division. That's what we got to do,"Redding continued.
"This is a big game. It's the next one. It's our division opponent. Even though we have the title right now, as far as claiming (the AFC) South. We still got to go out and put good tape on the field and go out and put a good product on the field."
SERIES HISTORY: 24th regular season meeting. Colts lead series, 19-4. Indianapolis is 11-0 all-time against the Texans in home games. The Colts have won the last two meetings, including a 27-24 come-from-behind victory at Reliant Stadium earlier this season (11/13/13). QB Andrew Luck fired three second-half touchdown passes to WR T.Y. Hilton as the team rallied from an 18-point deficit. Indianapolis also won the last matchup between the two franchises that was played at Lucas Oil Stadium, posting a 28-16 decision on Dec. 30, 2012 as Luck had a 70-yard touchdown pass to Hilton. Seven of the previous 23 games in the series were decided by a touchdown or less. The Colts have won eight of 12 games played at Reliant Stadium. Indianapolis is 6-0 against the Texans at the Hoosier/RCA Dome and 5-0 at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have swept the series seven times (2002-05, 2007-09). The Colts and Texans have split the series the last three seasons. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has a 2-1 career coaching record against Houston. Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips is 4-4 against Indianapolis.
NFL Team Report - Indianapolis Colts - NOTES, QUOTES