Some cheers, a turnover, maybe better special teams play. Hey, just about anything would work these days.
“That’s the ultimate goal, winning,” Indy running back Delone Carter said. “I feel like if you get that first chip in the iceberg, it’ll break the whole thing down.”
This week’s ice-breaking scenario seems like a perfect setup for a team desperately needing a win.
Atlanta (4-3) is coming off a bye week, has struggled with consistency all season and is 1-13 all-time against the Colts with no road wins in this series.
At 0-8, Indy is one of two remaining winless teams in the NFL. The Colts’ stretch of nine consecutive 10-win seasons is over. Their record-tying streak of nine consecutive playoff appearances is likely to be gone soon, too. Their dominance of the AFC South is history, at least this season, and if the Colts don’t win one of these next three home games, it will be their worst start since going 0-13 in 1986.
The skid has prompted some to debate everything from the status of coach Jim Caldwell to the possibility of tanking the season so Indy can draft Peyton Manning’s eventual successor in April.
The Falcons are in much better shape.
They have Matt Ryan, the quarterback Colts vice chairman Bill Polian described last year as the closest thing to Manning. They have Roddy White, who caught a league-high 115 passes last season. They have Tony Gonzalez, No. 2 all-time on the NFL’s receptions list. And they have Michael Turner, the running back who broke up Indy’s perfect 2005 season with a long, game-sealing TD run while with San Diego.
The Falcons, who have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, don’t think Indy is too far away from a win.
“We know that they’re a very capable team, and they’ve got some really strong points on both sides of the football and in special teams,” coach Mike Smith said. “I like some of the things that they do.”