Crucial questions for Colts

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:08 PM ET

A few weeks back, running back Mercury Morris politely shut the door on talk of the Indianapolis Colts matching the perfect season of his 1972 Miami Dolphins.

"Don't call me when you are in the neighbourhood," Morris said. "Call me when you're on the block."

The Colts are on the block all right, cruising down the street and getting ready to ring that doorbell.

And for now at least, quarterback Peyton Manning, coach Tony Dungy and the rest of the Colts are still in full throttle. The ultimate goal is to win Super Bowl XL in Detroit on Feb. 5 but the Colts have a chance to do so much more.

Three more regular-season wins followed by three in the playoffs and the Colts would actually surpass those 1972 Dolphins and their magical 17-0 perfect season.

Can the Colts go 19-0 is the perfect question with no perfect answer.

GAME 1

24-7

The Colts came within 13 seconds of their first shutout since 1997, a glimpse that they might have some defence to support Manning and company.

GAME 2

10-3

Jags take away passing game, so Manning hands it to Edgerrin James who outperforms his QB -- 128 rushing yards to 122 passing (a career low).

GAME 3

13-6

Defence keeps another inferior foe in check but offence called into question. "That's the thing I hate," Manning said. "People took last year for granted. It's about winning."

GAME 4

31-10

So much for the slump on offence. Manning throws for four TDs in the first complete win of the year. "It's our time," Colts defensive tackle Montae Reagor said.

GAME 5

28-3

The Colts intercepted Alex Smith four times to match the best start in team history. "We thought we had a chance to (rattle) the rookie quarterback," Dungy said.

GAME 7

38-20

Easy win sets up bye week in advance of a trip to New England to avenge back-to-back playoff losses. "We should be healthier and ready to go," Dungy said.

GAME 8

40-21

Prior to the game Manning was 0-7 against Pats QB Tom Brady. Though he claimed otherwise, Manning was clearly fired up for one of his greatest performances.

GAME 9

31-17

"You've got to go 9-0 before you go 10-0," Colts offensive guard Ryan Lilja said. Colts did that by jumping out to a 17-0 lead and never looking back.

GAME 10

45-37

Looking a lot like the Colts, the Bengals rolled up 492 yards of offence but couldn't keep up. "We've got to keep it going," Manning said. "They just get bigger and bigger."

GAME 11

26-7

From their first offensive play when Manning hit a streaking Marvin Harrison in stride for an 80-yard score, the Colts dominated another good team.

GAME 12

35-3

Easy blowout win clinches Colts a playoff spot, the first team to do so. "We expect to make the playoffs," linebacker Cato June said. "We have a bigger goal."

GAME 13

26-18

Indy clinches AFC South and home-field through the AFC Championship game and now Dungy must decide how many Colts to leave in the barn to avoid injuries.

GAME 14

@ Indianapolis

Chargers, who lost in overtime last year in Indy, come in as a desperate team fighting for their playoff lives. Expect a big-time shootout.

GAME 15

@ Seattle

This game in Seattle marks the only time the Colts have to go outside to play between now and the Super Bowl and may lead Dungy to rest more key players.

GAME 16

@ Indianapolis

If the streak is still intact, get ready to hear more about Jim Sorgi (Manning's backup) than you ever have before. Even Sorgi could be enough to beat the Cards, however.

GAME 17

@ Indianapolis

After a week to get rested, the Colts face their first must-win test in months. Frightening possibility: The visitors could be the New England Patriots.

GAME 18

@ Indianapolis

After a week to get rested, the Colts face their first must-win test in months. Frightening possibility: The visitors could be the New England Patriots.

GAME 18

@ Indianapolis

A rematch with the Bengals might be the most entertaining prospect, though the Colts wouldn't mind the Broncos who they have destroyed the past two playoffs.

GAME 19

@ Detroit

Another game on an indoor carpet is the final card that plays into the hand of a team that has played from a hot and favourable deck throughout this remarkable season..


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