The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Pro Sports

December 9, 2013

Colts focus on improvement after winning division crown

ANDERSON — The Indianapolis Colts received their official hats and T-shirts to commemorate their AFC South championship on Monday afternoon. But the team still didn’t seem to be in a full-on celebratory mood following Sunday’s 42-28 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We wanted to get it going through the front door by winning, but it didn’t happen,” quarterback Andrew Luck told the media at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “There’s still a lot to be proud about. We know we’re not playing like we want to at this point, but we also realize the season is not over, and we’ve got a lot of games left and hopefully can build on that and go into the playoffs strong.”

It’s been a roller-coaster ride in the Circle City, where the Colts (8-5) have alternated wins and losses for the past eight games. The team was considered among the favorites in the AFC as recently as late October following a 39-33 victory against the Denver Broncos.

Blowout losses to the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals lowered Indianapolis’ profile, and Sunday’s loss against the Bengals (9-4) almost ensures the team will be locked into the No. 4 seed for next month’s playoffs.

That means a likely date with the Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) in the first round. The good news for the Colts is that contest would be the first postseason game played at Lucas Oil Stadium since 2010.

“I think road or home, we’re always going to like our chances,” Luck said. “We’re always going to go in thinking we can win. To play in front of the crowd at Lucas Oil is always special. It’s fun to play at home.”

Indianapolis is 4-2 at home this year and hosts the Houston Texans (2-11) on Sunday before closing out the regular season inside the friendly confines against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) on Dec. 29. In between is a trip to Kansas City for a likely playoff preview.

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