Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 23, 2012

NFL: Indianapolis visits Chiefs seeking playoff berth

GOSHEN — The Indianapolis Colts of a year ago were in no better shape than the Kansas City Chiefs of this season. Their offense couldn’t score, their defense couldn’t stop anybody, and they had just one win when mid-December rolled around.

At least Kansas City has two wins to show for its season of discontent.

But when the Chiefs gaze across the field Sunday, they’ll see a franchise that has made one of the league’s surprising turnarounds. The Colts will be out to secure a playoff berth that few expected, and in doing so, give the Chiefs a reason to believe better days are still ahead.

“I knew coming into the locker room, it was a confident bunch of guys and a talented bunch of guys, so I don’t think anybody worried about what happened last year,” said Andrew Luck, the quarterback the Colts managed to draft first overall as a result of their 2-14 finish.

“We were just focused on getting better,” Luck said, “and thankfully we’ve won some games and hopefully put ourselves in a spot to win some more.”

The Colts (9-5) blew their first shot at clinching a playoff berth last Sunday, when they lost to Houston. But they can still get in with a win over the Chiefs (2-12) or in their season-finale against the Texans, or if the Steelers lose one of their two remaining games.

Pittsburgh plays Cincinnati on Sunday before finishing up against lowly Cleveland.

“I believe this game will determine if they go to the playoffs or not,” Chiefs safety Eric Berry said, “so I’m expecting everything from them.”

Expectations have certainly risen in Indianapolis since last season.

The reclamation began when the Colts released the injured, 35-year-old Peyton Manning in March and decided to draft Luck over Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. New general manager Ryan Grigson then cut defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, running back Joseph Addai and tight end Dallas Clark to free up space under the salary cap.

Veteran center Jeff Saturday and wide receiver Pierre Garcon walked in free agency, and Grigson filled the holes through savvy draft decisions and with cost-effective veterans.

“The young players came in and listened to our veteran leadership,” said interim coach Bruce Arians, who has filled in admirably while Chuck Pagano undergoes treatment for leukemia.

“We have some veterans who have won a lot of ballgames here,” Arians said, “and they did a great job of grabbing those guys and telling them how important they would be to win.”

That was never more evident than last Sunday.

Luck threw for 186 yards and two TDs without an interception. Tight ends Colby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, drafted in the second and third rounds, combined to make four catches for 57 yards and had one of the scores. T.Y. Hilton, another third-round choice, had three catches for 78 yards and the other touchdown, and fifth-round pick Vick Ballard ran for 105 yards.

Granted, it all came in a losing effort, but it also demonstrates how much the Colts are relying on rookies to return the franchise to its winning ways.

“Last week, I think rookies account or 82 percent of our offense,” Arians said. “They’ve gotten so many snaps, now we don’t even consider them rookies.”

The Chiefs are in a similar situation as the Colts were heading into this offseason.

They’re neck-and-neck with Jacksonville for the first overall draft choice, and it’s widely expected that they’ll spend it on a quarterback after getting inconsistent — at times downright lousy — play out of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn this season.

There’s no Luck, of course. But guys such as Geno Smith of West Virginia and Matt Barkley of Southern Cal could give Kansas City a similar young talent around which they could retool one of the league’s worst offenses.

The Chiefs haven’t drafted a quarterback in the first round since 1983.

Then there’s the question of who will make that choice.

The Colts fired vice chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris, the Colts’ general manager, during a purge in January. A couple weeks later, coach Jim Caldwell was shown the door.

Kansas City fans have been pining for similar moves all season.

There was a “black out” during a game at Cincinnati intended to mourn the lost season and send a message of change to ownership, and some fans have pooled their money to hire airplanes towing banners asking for general manager Scott Pioli to be fired prior to home games.

“Losing has been frustrating, however you lose,” said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, whose job also appears to be on the line. “It doesn’t make a difference how you lose, if it’s the offense, the defense, special teams. When you lose, it’s frustrating.”

The Colts lost three of their first five games, but rattled off four straight wins as the rookies got their feet under them. They followed up a loss with three more wins, and now have a chance to atone for last Sunday’s disappointment.

“We need to get in the playoffs. That’s all we’re thinking about is getting there,” Arians said. “We’re not there yet. We’re going to have to beat a good team on the road.”

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Camp Football [GOSHEN NEWS] NFL: Colts lose 2nd starter with season-ending injury ANDERSON — The injuries are already piling up in Indianapolis.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nadal Withdraws Tennis [GOSHEN NEWS] TENNIS: Nadal withdraws from two tournaments Rafael Nadal withdrew Wednesday from U.S. Open tuneups in Toronto and Cincinnati because of a right wrist injury, putting in doubt his status for a title defense at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NFL: Colts look for second-year LB to take big step forward ANDERSON — Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner -- the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts -- is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bridgestone Invitational Golf-3 [GOSHEN NEWS] GOLF: Woods hopeful for more good memories at the Firestone AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods finds out over the next two weeks if his season is over or just getting started.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Concussion Lawsuit-9 [THE GOSHEN NEWS] NCAA settles head-injury lawsuit via fund CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Offense adapting to new arsenal ANDERSON — Dwayne Allen didn’t often recognize the Indianapolis Colts offense he was watching from the sideline last season.The third-year tight end suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guar

    July 30, 2014

  • Running back Rainey is released ANDERSON — Just days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning.The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later conf

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT GN140730 Kulp Former Jimtown coach Brent Kulp named GHS softball coach GOSHEN — When you find your calling in life you follow it, even if it means going back to a previous career. Brent Kulp understands this lesson.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results