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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Struggles keep getting worse for winless Colts

Colts-Getting Worse

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indianapolis' miserable season is getting worse by the week.

The Colts are 0-13 for the second time in franchise history. Three of the team's worst 100 games, based on net yards, have come in the past month. The last two quarterbacks, Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter, are winless as NFL starters. And now they'll face two teams fighting for playoff position in a five-day span, compressing the time Indy has to fix things.

Do we have much to show for yesterday? No,'' Orlovsky said Monday after a 24-10 loss at Baltimore.Do we have much to show from two weeks ago? Yeah. But we certainly can get better.''

If Indy doesn't improve in the next three weeks, this bad season could go down as the worst ever.

Since the franchise was founded in 1953, no Colts team has ever been 0-14, much less 0-16. The only time the Colts failed to win a game was in the strike-shortened 1982 season when they were 0-8-1. Only three other Colts teams finished with fewer than three wins -- 1991 when they were 1-15, 1981 when they were 2-14 and 1974 when they went 2-12.

But this season's cuts go far deeper than just dubious franchise marks.

Not only is Indianapolis in jeopardy of joining Detroit as the only winless teams in the 16-game era, the Colts already have the distinction of the biggest collapse of any Super Bowl team. Of the 90 teams that have played in the league's biggest game, none won fewer than four games within two years of their Super Bowl appearance.

Except this year's Colts.

While 1-13 doesn't sound much better than 0-14, players and coaches acknowledge they desperately need a victory.

Obviously, every time you go out, you want to win,'' Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday said.It's something to build on for the future, and we want to show some of the young guys what it's like to win and show guys this is what we're all about.''

The future almost certainly will include next spring's No. 1 draft pick, which is likely to be used on Andrew Luck.

Since 2000, Indianapolis has set league records for most regular-season wins in a decade (115), most consecutive 12-win seasons (seven), longest regular-season winning streak (23) and tied the league mark for most consecutive playoff appearances (nine).

Of course, Peyton Manning, the only four-time MVP in league history, was the catalyst behind all those records. But after starting 227 consecutive games, including the playoffs, Manning had neck surgery in May and again Sept. 8, giving the Colts a glimpse at what life without Manning looks like.

Most in Indy are hoping Luck will come in as the successor, and that both quarterbacks will be able to work together next season to resurrect an offense that was once considered the league's best.

How bad are things in Indy?

The Colts haven't had a lead in a game since blowing a 17-point lead against Kansas City on Oct. 9.

The 167-yard performance against the Ravens marked the eighth time this season the Colts finished with fewer than 300 yards in net offense. With Manning, the Colts produced 10 of the franchise's 20 best points-per-game totals over the past 13 years, but at this pace, they will finish with the seventh-worst scoring average (14.2) in franchise history.

We just didn't convert enough third downs (against Baltimore),'' coach Jim Caldwell said.Some of that was certainly, maybe, a pass protection here or there, and that pass protection doesn't just fall on our offensive line. But I think their defense is a pretty salty defense, and obviously, if you don't play really well against a defense like that, then they're going to stall you and they're going to slow you down in all phases.''

Despite trying three different quarterbacks, different running back rotations, a revamped offensive line, going away from the no-huddle offense or anything else, nothing has worked.

And fixing all those problems in the next three weeks seems like a longshot, too.

I don't think we can flip the stats this late in the season, and I don't really care, to be honest,'' Saturday said after being reminded the Colts have been outscored 55-6 in the first three quarters the last two weeks.We need to stick together and play more consistent games.''

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