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Mad Indy seeks to get back on track

INDIANAPOLIS — The usually quiet Colts are becoming a surly bunch.

Before their season opener, they bristled at the suggestion they would falter without star quarterback Peyton Manning. Afterward, they're downright ornery.

Players and coaches spent most of last week trying to figure out what went wrong during a 34-7 loss at Houston, how to make corrections and map out a game plan to rebound.

"It's not easy any time you get beaten like that," Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday said. "But we've got too much pride in our team and our teammates to just take it."

Conventional wisdom suggests this is how Indianapolis will look without Manning, a four-time league MVP who had started 227 consecutive games before last week. He's expected to miss at least two months after having his third neck surgery in 19 months last week.

The Colts haven't started 0-2 since 1998, Manning's rookie season.

"Regardless of anything that happens — Peyton being there, Peyton not being there — it doesn't mean you're going to have a bad season," defensive end Dwight Freeney said. "It just means you had a bad first week. That's Round 1 out of 16 rounds. We lost Round 1. We just have to do things a little better."

Round 2 comes today at home against the Browns.

Indianapolis is coming off one of its most abysmal performances in years. The offense scored only seven points. The defense couldn't get off the field, and the punt return team gave up a touchdown in the final minute of the first half.

The coaches slowed things down for Manning's replacement, Kerry Collins. But the revamped offensive line broke down far too often, and Collins lost two fumbles over the first 15 minutes. They're hoping with another week of practice, Collins and the offense will look more normal.

With no Manning to bail out the Colts any time soon, fans are already fretting as players avoid panicking.

"Last week, people are up in arms about what happened, and this week is a new challenge," said defensive captain Gary Brackett, who will miss today's game with a left shoulder injury. "We can go out there and redeem ourselves and be sitting pretty again."

Bengals: The home opener was declared a blackout despite not being until Sept. 25. The team said there are so many tickets left, it has no chance of selling out its 65,500-seat stadium. It will be the Bengals' fifth consecutive blackout.

Broncos: Defensive tackle Ty Warren, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal as a free agent during the offseason, went on season-ending injured reserve. Warren tore his right triceps during training camp. Denver hoped to keep him on the roster until his projected mid November return. But with running back Knowshon Moreno hobbled by a hamstring injury, it needed his roster spot to promote Jeremiah Johnson from the practice squad.

Seahawks: Defensive end Dexter Davis went on injured reserve with a hip injury. Details on the injury weren't disclosed. Davis played in the opener but didn't practice all last week. Cornerback Kennard Cox, a special teams standout for Seattle last season, was re-signed.

Owens cited: Receiver Terrell Owens, a free agent while recovering from a torn ACL, was pulled over for driving alone in a carpool lane, overly tinted windows and an expired registration last week in Los Angeles, gossip website TMZ reported. The carpool violation is punishable by a $381, but the other two citations can be written off if he registers the car and brings the windows up to code.

Mad Indy seeks to get back on track 09/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:15pm]
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