Colts Back In Playoff Picture

Don't look now, but the Indianapolis Colts have once again become serious contenders for a spot in the AFC playoffs. In the wake of Sunday's 33-27 victory over the Texans, Indianapolis has now strung together three straight wins heading into this week's nationally televised road game with San Diego.

Thanks in large measure to a rejuvenated running game — which rolled up 154 total yards — and a passing attack that Houston found hard to contain, the Colts managed to do just enough in improving its record to 6-4 overall and 2-2 in divisional play.

"That was a big win for us. It was a good one to get," coach Tony Dungy admitted afterward. "It's very, very difficult to beat a team twice (in a season) and we were able to do that. Houston, you have to give them a lot of credit. I thought their offense was very sharp, especially in the second half. Defensively, we weren't as sharp. But (the Texans) do that to you. They've got a lot of things that you have to defend.

"I thought we fought for how we practiced (last week) and how many guys we had out of practice early in the week. We bounced back and did pretty well. Last week our defense got the takeaways and made a couple of big plays. This week it was our offense that kind of saved us in the second half with those long drives and touchdowns. But all in all, it was a good win for us."

Now it's on to the Chargers, who have had Indianapolis' number in recent years. The Colts lost a regular-season game at San Diego a year ago and then were upset in an AFC divisional playoff game at the RCA Dome during the postseason.

But the big news is that Indianapolis, after getting off to a 3-4 start this year, has reeled out three straight wins and appears to be right back in the hunt.

"November and December, everybody knows that's the time when the good football teams step up and that's when the good football teams step out," running back Dominic Rhodes said. "Usually, in November and December, we play pretty well. We're doing that again and it's at the right time. We just have to keep pushing on."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're on a three-game (winning) streak. We haven't gotten one all year. November is the time to get them. We have a tough opponent coming up on the road next week (at San Diego). It will be a huge game. Getting three in a row, getting back in the (AFC playoff) race was big for us." — Colts coach Tony Dungy, on the win over the Texans.

TRENDING: The Colts have struggled running the football for most of the season. Indianapolis came into the Houston game averaging just 69.2 yards per game to rank 32nd in the league in that category. But against the Texans, the Colts had 154 yards on the ground and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

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