Game Snapshot: Colts - Buccaneers

<b>Indianapolis Colts</b> (4-0) at <b> Tampa Bay Buccaneers</b> (2-1)<br><b>GAME SNAPSHOT</b><br><b>KICKOFF:</b> Monday, 9:00 ET<br> <b>GAMEDATE: </b> 10/06/03<br><b>SURFACE: </b> Grass<br> <b>TV: </b> ABC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Lisa Guerrero<br><br> <b>SERIES: </b> 10th meeting. Colts lead the all-time series 5-4, but Tampa Bay has won the last two meetings.

The Bucs, coached then by Tony Dungy, won the most recent meeting 31-28 in Indianapolis in Indianapolis in ‘97. Quarterback Kelly Holcomb led a stirring comeback in relief of Paul Justin for the Colts.

2003 RANKINGS: Colts: offense 15th (22nd rush, 11th pass); defense 6th (22nd rush, 6th pass). Bucs: offense 8th (20th rush, 2nd pass); defense 1st (17th rush, 1st pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Emotion will play an enormous role early as Colts coach Tony Dungy makes his return to Tampa Bay, where he built the Bucs into a contender as their coach for six seasons. He also helped build Tampa Bay's vaunted Cover-2 defense, a scheme he has used to help revamp the Colts' defense. The Bucs will try to disguise their coverages, but need a strong push from their defensive line to force QB Peyton Manning to get rid of the ball early. Manning will get a bonus if RB Edgerrin James (back) is able to play. Tampa Bay will use RB Michael Pittman more as its featured back and coach Jon Gruden is still striving to find balance in his offense.

FAST FACTS: Colts: James needs 19 yards to pass Eric Dickerson (5,194) into third place on the team's career rushing chart. ... They are 6-12 against defending Super Bowl champions. ... They have won seven of their past 10 road games. Bucs: The defense has recorded at least one sack in an NFL-high 63 consecutive games. ... WR Keyshawn Johnson needs 55 receiving yards to move into fourth place on the team's all-time list.

PREDICTED SCORE: Bucs 17, Colts 16


OT Ryan Diem is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain. He is expected to be back after the Colts' Oct. 19 bye week but might be available for next week's home game with Carolina.

CB Joseph Jefferson is not expected to resume practice for at least another couple of weeks. Jefferson had surgery in early September to repair a herniated groin.

RB Edgerrin James has not practiced since the Saturday prior to the Jacksonville game due to a sore back. He returned to practice on Wednesday and is expected to start Monday night at Tampa Bay.

LB Jim Nelson appears to be fine after getting hit in the head in the early stages of last week's win at New Orleans.

WR Brandon Stokley remains a question mark for the Buccaneers game. Stokley has yet to play in a regular season game due to a pulled hamstring. He practiced Wednesday and will most likely be a game-time decision.

CB Donald Strickland resumed practice on Thursday. Strickland has been sidelined since mid-July with a pulled groin. He may be ready to play after the Oct. 19 bye.

DE Raheem Brock is expected to play despite suffering a slightly sprained ankle last week.

FS Jason Doering has been nursing an injured finger since the beginning of the season. He is expected to be available this week.

DE Dwight Freeney returned to the Colts' lineup last week at New Orleans after missing the Jacksonville game with ankle and abdominal injuries.

CB Walt Harris will start this week despite tendonitis in his knee. Harris has had the problem since training camp.

WR-KR Brad Pyatt will be returning kicks this week despite suffering a hip pointer and back spasms in the Saints game. He did not practice Thursday and will most likely be a game-time decision.

RB Dominic Rhodes saw his first action in a regular season game last week after missing the 2002 season and most of training camp as he rehabilitated his knee. Rhodes underwent surgery on his knee at the end of the Colts' 2002 training camp to repair cartilage and ligament damage.

C Jeff Saturday has been having a problem with back spasms most of the season. Saturday, however, has yet to miss a start.

OG Steve Sciullo has had an ongoing problem with turf toe since early in the season. He will start Monday night.

OT Adam Meadows did not practice Thursday due to a touch of the flu. He was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie OT Makoa Freitas. Meadows is expected to practice Friday and be available to play this week.

LB David Thornton tweaked an ankle in the win at New Orleans. Thornton will start this week.

PK Mike Vanderjagt will be available to kick against Tampa Bay despite sore ribs. Vanderjagt was injured in last week's game at New Orleans. He did not practice Thursday but is expected to play this week.


LB Shelton Quarles will meet with doctors after undergoing x-rays Friday of his broken left forearm and the team will determine if he will play in Monday's game against the Colts.

WR Joe Jurevicius, who is recovering from a torn MCL in his right knee, has shown good mobility, according to Gruden. Jurevicius likely won't be cleared to return to practice for another few weeks.

LB Derrick Brooks, who returned four turnovers for touchdowns last season, does not have a sack, interception, forced fumble or fumble recovery in three games.

DT Warren Sapp has had just one sack in his last 13 games. He needs six to tie Lee Roy Selmon for the franchise record.



Indianapolis Colts second-year weak-side linebacker David Thornton wants the rest of the league to know that he's no Derrick Brooks.

Don't get the wrong idea. Thornton is not one to sing his own praises, but with this week's Monday night game at Tampa on the horizon, he has been on the receiving end of comparisons between himself and the Buccaneers' All-Pro linebacker.

"I appreciate the comments, but there is no way that can be compared in any way to a player to caliber of Derrick Brooks," Thornton said Thursday. "The only thing that is even remotely the same between us is that we play the same position in the same defensive scheme. After that, though, any comparisons are way off base."

It's been a breakout season so far for the former University of North Carolina defensive MVP (ahead of such players as Carolina's Julius Peppers and Kansas City's Ryan Sims). Thornton, who leads Indianapolis in tackles with 49 through four games, was used primarily on special teams as a rookie last year but did manage to work his way into the defensive lineup in the Colts' nickel package.

But his quick development allowed Indianapolis to part company with former starter Mike Peterson in the offseason.

"It's been fun so far," Thornton says. "I'm still learning as I'm out there playing. I hope that I'm getting better every time I take the field, whether it's in practice or in a game situation. It's going to be exciting to be out there playing against guys like Derrick and Warren Sapp this week."


The focus for Monday night's Bucs-Colts game is the return of coach Tony Dungy to Tampa. But both Dungy and coach Jon Gruden said the emphasis should be on the undefeated Colts against the defending world champions.

"I can't comment on this any further," Gruden said. "We're losing focus on the game, for crying out loud. It's a great story, it's something that's very unique and I certainly respect the man coaching for the Colts and who coached here. I've said that I certainly respect the man who is coaching for the Colts and who coached here. I've said that I don't know how many times. But we've got to block them, we've got to tackle them, we've got to find a way to win that game. That's what concerns me at this time.

"We're just going to concentrate on the game and do the best that we can. This is certainly going to be something that (Dungy) has to deal with because of who he is and what he represents. But Ken Dilger is going to have similar emotions. He played for the Colts for six, seven, eight years and was a big part of their success. That's just part of life sometimes.

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