Showdown With Tennesee Looms

In the wake of a 34-14 road loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 2008 season certainly doesn't get any easier for the Indianapolis Colts. Now saddled with a 3-3 record, the Colts find themselves in third place in the AFC South race. Next up is a nationally televised Monday night road game against division leader Tennessee, the NFL's lone undefeated team at 6-0.

Indianapolis' streak of five straight AFC South titles, along with a postseason run at the end of this year, will be on the line against the Titans.

If the Colts are to start the process of turning their season around this week, more consistent play throughout the team is a given. Running the football and stopping the run continue to be the two areas, besides racking up too many penalties, that are causing the most concern.

A week after limiting the Baltimore Ravens to 51 yards on the ground, the Colts gave up 116 yards to the Packers (105 yards in 31 carries to Green Bay running back Ryan Grant). And with Dominic Rhodes getting the majority of the work, Indianapolis ran for 73 yards on 23 carries.

Indianapolis had been doing a pretty good job of protecting the football in its first five games, but a pair of Peyton Manning interceptions that were run back for touchdowns (62 and 99 yards) were momentum changers.

"(Green Bay) pretty much played pretty much error free and we did a lot of things that cause you to lose games," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We had defensive penalties on third down, on fourth down. We had a field goal blocked. We're offsides on third-and one that caused us to go to third-and six.

"And then we throw an interception for a touchdown the next play. All those things, where you don't give yourself a chance to win, you can't do that in the NFL against anybody. And certainly not against a good team like Green Bay."

That's been the problem through the first seven weeks of the season. Indianapolis has been underperforming at the start of the year.

Now, Indianapolis will have eight days to try and figure out what the problems are.

"(The extra time to practice) will be good for us. Tennessee is playing very well. They're playing as solid and as well as anybody I've seen in the NFL this year. So we're going to have to play sharp," the Colts coach said.

"But I told the team that there's no reason that we can't go down there and win if we play well. But we're not going to be able to win in Tennessee with penalties and turnovers and mistakes like we had (against Green Bay)."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've been kind up and down this year. We had 10 penalties (against Baltimore). We talked about it as a team. That, 'Hey, we've got to get our fundamentals squared away. That's going to come back to haunt us.' And (Sunday against the Packers) it did." — Coach Tony Dungy, on the inconsistent play of the Colts so far this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: For the second week in a row, the Colts had 11 or more penalties. The 110 yards on 12 penalties against Green Bay was the most given up by a Tony Dungy team in Tampa or Indianapolis. The team had 11 penalties for 84 yards in the win over Baltimore a week earlier.


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