Colts looking for answers after dismal loss in opener
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck has mastered the art of the rebound.
After taking two days to break down game tape of Sunday's loss, he has spent the rest of this week fine-tuning the corrections. More often than not, Luck and his teammates have responded with a win.
''This team, ever since I've been here, has handled bouncing back well,'' Luck said Thursday. ''We've handled success well, too, but we know we need to go out and try to get a win at home on the big stage this week.''
Indianapolis (0-1) was hoping to get off to a good start after the schedule-makers gave them five consecutive games against non-playoff teams. But few franchises have been more proficient at avoiding back-to-back losses than the Colts.
In Luck's first 49 regular-season games, Indy has lost two straight only one time - in Weeks 1 and 2 last season, when they captured a second straight division title and reached the AFC championship game for the first time in the post-Peyton Manning era.
This time, there's more concern and not just because Indy played so poorly against Buffalo.
The offensive line that came into the season already under scrutiny struggled to give Luck enough time to throw deep against blitzes by the Bills. The Colts are likely to face a similar game plan Monday night when new Jets head coach Todd Bowles unleashes his blitz package.
New York (1-0) also is expected to rely on a similar offensive style, challenging Indy's much-maligned run defense, which gave up 147 yards last week.
Now the Colts are trying to make the most of their second chance.
''Seeing what we saw Week 1 is very helpful because they (the Bills) presented us with a bunch of different looks and challenged our protections on every snap,'' coach Chuck Pagano said. ''Different bodies, different scheme, we may see more of one look compared to another look, but it certainly can't hurt us with what we saw in Week 1.''
The injury list could hurt, though.
While Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton apparently escaped a serious left knee injury, it's unclear whether he'll play Monday night. Pagano said Thursday that he's ''very optimistic'' Hilton will play. Hilton told reporters he thought it would be a game-time decision.
If Hilton can't go, the Jets could have cornerback Darrelle Revis shadow seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson and dare Indy's young, speedy receivers - Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett - to beat them long.
Defensively, the situation might be even worse.
Starting cornerback Greg Toler sat out last week with a neck injury and is considered week to week. His replacement, Darius Butler, missed Thursday's practice because of a hip injury and rookie D'Joun Smith, a third-round draft pick, sat out with an injured knee. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who is trying to return from a torn Achilles tendon and didn't play last weekend, also was limited in practice.
''We understand what has to be done,'' kicker Adam Vinatieri said. ''You don't have to reinvent the atom, you have to clean up things. If we get rid of six or eight negative plays, it's a completely different game (last week).''
''It's just good to go play a game,'' Luck said. ''We just want to get out there and play a game.''
Notes: Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (toe) and right guard Todd Herremans (shoulder) also were limited in practice Thursday. Pagano did not say why. ... Indy promoted backup linebacker Josh McNary to the active roster and signed running back Zurlon Tipton to the practice squad after putting running back Vick Ballard on the waived-injured list earlier this week.
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