Bye Week Helped Colts

The Indianapolis Colts get a chance to redeem themselves after dropping a 23-21 road decision to the Chargers on Nov. 11.

In that game, two of the Colts' biggest performers — quarterback Peyton Manning and kicker Adam Vinatieri — turned in unexpected up-and-down performances.

Indianapolis managed to rally from a 23-7 halftime deficit but Manning — who completed 34 of a career-high 56 attempts for 328 yards and two touchdown passes — threw a career-high six interceptions in the first half.

Vinatieri, meanwhile, saw a potential game-winning 29-yard field goal go wide right with 1:31 remaining.

During the Colts' bye week, the team geared up for its AFC divisional round playoff game by preparing for one of three possible opponents — San Diego, Pittsburgh or Jacksonville.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy opted to go over general things in workouts last Wednesday and Thursday. The Colts did, however, take a long look at the Chargers' and Steelers' 3-4 defensive schemes in an effort to better familiarize themselves with either potential foe.

Peyton Manning
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

"(The bye week) was good for us. Without having to prepare for a specific team, we could work on some fundamental things against 3-4 defenses which we don't do a lot during the course of a year or even in summer school or training camp," Dungy explained late last week.

"We got to look at some of our defense against two-back running. And we could just look at some things. And we got some running in and conditioning. So, all in all, it was a pretty productive two days."

Another thing that the Colts accomplished was to take a long, intensive look at themselves and what they've accomplished thus far this season. That included doing a bit of self-scouting.

"We looked at some things in the last month that we've done well, things that we haven't done quite as well and little things maybe that we could tweak for the playoffs," the Indianapolis coach said.

"We certainly didn't have this opportunity last year and we'll see how it helps us. But it was a good couple of days that way."

The one thing that Dungy didn't want to do last week was to overload his team with too much information about potential opponents.

"We could say, hey, if San Diego wins we're going to play them. They're favored (against Tennessee this week in an AFC wild-card game), so let's get an extra week on San Diego. But in the end, I don't know if that really helps you. And it could possibly be a week of wasted time," he said.

"So I think we'll have plenty of time to prepare. We've done some work on each of the three teams we could possibly play. I think we'll be well set when we do start on Monday. Six or seven or eight days in a row (preparing for a particular team), I don't think is the way to do it. And we've never practiced for our opening-day opponent during training camp. We've had pretty good luck on opening day. I just think you get into a routine of how to prepare and you don't want to tell your team that the playoffs is different. It's same type of football. You just have to do it when the lights are a little bit brighter."

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