Colts Continue March Towards Playoffs

One more win. That's all the Indianapolis Colts need to annex a seventh AFC South championship. Thanks to a 31-26 win over the Oakland Raiders, along with Jacksonville dropping a 20-17 overtime decision to the Washington Redskins, the Colts are exactly where they want to be.

Now the only thing standing in the way of Indianapolis making a ninth straight trip to the postseason is divisional rival Tennessee, who would like nothing better than to knock the Colts out of contention.

Indianapolis is now 9-6 for the season and has a one-game lead over the Jaguars, who are 8-7. But the Colts and Jacksonville both have 3-2 won-loss records within the AFC South.

Both Indianapolis and the Jaguars had their games moved to late games as the NFL announced flex changes in the schedule for the final day of games.

"We've been treating these last three games like playoff games," said running back Dominic Rhodes. "Our last four games (of the regular season) are like the playoffs.

"Right now we're doing what we're supposed to do and that's playing Colts football. We've got a little bit of momentum going right now. We're on a three-game winning streak and it's definitely feeling good right now for us. We're playing winning football again."

One thing the Colts didn't do this past week, and won't do this week, is find themselves scoreboard watching. Indianapolis players said that they didn't know that Jacksonville had lost to the Redskins.

"We're just trying to get into the playoffs," said center Jeff Saturday. "We understand that we have to win all the games to secure the division and that's been our goal.

"The last four weeks there hasn't been any other talk or any other concerns. It's all win and then move on to the next one and win that one as well. We've had that mentality the last four weeks and nothing has been changed. We have a great division opponent (Tennessee) coming to our house and you've got to win home games. That's been the bottom line. They're coming into our house and we've got to get the win to secure the (playoff) spot."

TRENDING: Who said that the Colts couldn't play good run defense? Well, considering that Indianapolis ranked among the NFL's worst run defenses this year by allowing an average of 135.8 yards per game, nobody can really argue. Except if you look at what the defense has accomplished over the last three games. The Colts have limited Tennessee's Chris Johnson to 111 yards in 22 carries, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew to 46 yards in 15 carries and Oakland's Darren McFadden to 45 yards in 11 carries. Indianapolis has slowed two of the NFL's top rushing offenses over the last two weeks.

LINEUP WATCH: Rhodes continued to impress in his second game of work with the Colts. Rhodes had 98 yards in 17 carries against Oakland, his most yards with Indianapolis since he had 86 yards in 20 carries against Detroit in 2008. Re-signed to the active roster on Dec. 7 after spending most of the fall with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL, Rhodes was active but didn't play against Tennessee on Dec. 9 and then had 26 yards in nine carries in the Dec. 19 home-field win over Jacksonville.


  • QB Peyton Manning completed 16-of-30 passes for 179 yards, three touchdowns and had two interceptions in the Colts win over Oakland. Manning has now attempted 638 passes this season, the fourth most in an NFL season. Manning had a 27-yard run on a bootleg late in the fourth quarter. It was his longest run from scrimmage since he had a career-long 33-yard run against Buffalo in 2001.
  • WR Reggie Wayne caught three passes for 40 yards. Wayne now has 102 catches and 1,287 yards for the season. Wayne has now recorded back-to-back 100 catch seasons and the third of his NFL career.
  • RB Joseph Addai saw his first playing time since aggravating a neck injury against Washington on Oct. 17. Addai had missed the previous eight games. He had 12 carries for 45 yards in limited work against the Raiders.
  • TE Jacob Tamme had seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Tamme also recovered a key onside kick late in the fourth quarter.
  • S Antoine Bethea was nicked late in the fourth quarter but was able to return to the game. He netted eight total tackles, including seven solos.
  • DE Robert Mathis totaled six total tackles and had 1.5 sacks against the Raiders. Mathis now has 11 sacks on the season.
  • OT Charlie Johnson started at left offensive tackle despite missing most of last week's practices with a groin injury. Johnson was spelled by rookie OT Jeff Linkenbach during the Oakland game.

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