Coming off two straight close losses, dropping games to New England (24-20) and San Diego (23-21), the Indianapolis Colts will now return to the RCA Dome for a home game with Kansas City this week.
The Colts now have a 7-2 record and a one-game lead in the AFC South race over Tennessee and Jacksonville, who have 6-3 won-loss marks.
After running off a 12-game winning streak, which dated back to the end of the 2006 regular season, Indianapolis has now lost two in a row for the first time since losing to Tennessee and Jacksonville on successive weekends Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 last year.
"We have to come back and get a winning streak started," Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said. "We've got to play a lot sharper than we did (against San Diego). We're not going to be able to have those kind of mistakes (six interceptions by quarterback Peyton Manning, two kicks returned for touchdowns and two missed field goals by kicker Adam Vinatieri) and win.
"We've got to get those eliminated. We'll work on those in practice and
see if we can have a good, sharp week and get ourselves ready to go."
Manning certainly agrees.
"We have no choice. It's been a long time since we've lost a game. It had almost been a year when we lost last week (to the Patriots). And to lose two in a row is disappointing," he said.
"It's a short week. And we have no choice but get ready to play Kansas City at home and try to get a win. That's certainly the best remedy for a two-game losing streak, trying to get a win, and feel good about ourselves."
The loss to the Chargers was costly as three starters left the game with injuries, offensive tackles Charlie Johnson and Ryan Diem along with defensive end Dwight Freeney. Indianapolis came into the San Diego game without the services of six other starters -- wide receiver Marvin Harrison, offensive tackle Tony Ugoh, tight end Dallas Clark, defensive tackle Raheem Brock, linebacker Tyjuan Hagler and linebacker Freddy Keiaho.
"We had a lot of things happen (injury-wise). I'm not sure where we are. We had a lot of guys who gutted it up and played hurt. So we'll just have to see," Dungy said.
Despite a boatload of mental and physical errors against San Diego, the Colts won't have a lot of time to reflect on the loss to the Chargers. Kansas City will present a whole new set of challenges for Indianapolis to overcome.
"We've got to play sharper. We have got to do the things that good teams do, to not lose games. That's always been our hallmark as well. We're going to have to get that going. If we do, I think we can be a pretty good team," Dungy said.
"It's going to be a short preparation time to get ready for Kansas City. We've got some more guys get injured (against San Diego), so we'll see where we are health-wise. But the guys who play have to play well and have to do the fundamental things well. And if we do that, we'll be in great shape," Dungy said.
--QB Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes against San Diego, giving him 291 for his career. He passed Johnny Unitas (290) for sixth place in NFL career touchdown passes. Manning had six interceptions for the first time in his NFL career against San Diego. Manning had four interceptions in the first half, the first time he had done that in his career.
--DE Dwight Freeney left the San Diego game late in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. There was no immediate diagnosis of the injury.
--OT Ryan Diem suffered a knee injury late in the first half of the San Diego game. He was able to return to the game for limited playing time, although the knee was taped up.
--OT Charlie Johnson started at LT in place of Ugoh. Johnson, though, suffered an injured knee in the first half and was sidelined for the remainder of the game.
--OG Dylan Gandy saw extensive playing time due to the injuries along the Colts' offensive line.
--OG Jake Scott moved to RT for most of the second half due to Ryan Diem's knee injury. Scott began his NFL career as an OT.
--DT Keyunta Dawson made his first NFL start, replacing Raheem Brock in the Colts' defensive lineup.
--LB Clint Session recorded his first two career interceptions.
--Indianapolis signed OT Michael Toudouze to the active roster on Saturday, the day before the San Diego game. Toudouze, a fifth-round pick in 2005, had been on the Colts' practice squad. He saw extensive playing time at LOT filling in for an injured Charlie Johnson. It was his first time playing in a regular-season game joining the Colts.
--WR Craphonso Thorpe took over as the Colts' primary kickoff and punt returner with the release of T.J. Rushing, who was released late last week. Thorpe also got some work at wide receiver with the lack of depth at the position, catching five passes for 41 yards. He also averaged 20.2 yards on five kickoff returns.