New path to playoffs for Colts

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

A year ago the Indianapolis Colts were caught up in a controversy after trading off a chance at a perfect season for playoff health. At 14-0, and with the New York Jets in town, the Colts regulars got a rest and the Jets got a win.

Nothing quite so complicated has hindered the Colts down the stretch this season. From the first week of December when they appeared destined to miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years, it's been 'win or else.'

After three straight wins, it's still that way. They control their own destiny and can win their seventh AFC South title in the last eight years, in the process earning their ninth consecutive playoff spot and even a first-round home game.

"We've won it different ways around here," defensive end Dwight Freeney told the Indianapolis Star. "Obviously, what we're used to around here, the last three or four weeks, we're relaxing.

"This might be good for us; you never know. We have our backs to the wall, and we do pretty well when we have our backs to the wall."

Not only have the Colts won three games in a row, they have rediscovered their smothering defence and, most importantly, their running game with Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes racking up big numbers on the ground the last two weeks.

"Our guys have done a great job of staying really focused and not getting caught up in 'scenario central,' and trying to reduce things to the lowest common denominator," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "That lowest common denominator is we have to continue to win."


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