NEWS

NFL Quick Shots: Colts continue to do what doesn't work in playoffs

Matt Trowbridge

The 12-0 Colts have been here before. And, in a Lovie Smith-style habit of stupidity and stubbornness, the Colts want to keep making the moves that turned out disastrously in the past.

This is the NFL-record seventh year in a row the Colts have won at least 12 games. In the past, the Colts have sat Peyton Manning and several other key starters after they’ve clinched their playoff seed. Even in 2005, the year they began 13-0. The result: Indianapolis is 1-4 in the playoffs in years Jim Sorgi replaced Manning for the season finale.

In the only two years the Colts continued to play their starters, Indianapolis is 6-1 in the playoffs, including beating the Bears in the 2006 Super Bowl. So, naturally, former coach Tony Dungy said protege Jim Caldwell will rest his stars again this year instead of trying to make history with a 19-0 finish. Caldwell, a former Beloit Memorial star, confirmed Dungy’s analysis.

Texans get vintage Rex showing

Rex Grossman has a long history of regressing. He followed his 74.8 passer rating as a rookie with ratings of 67.9 and 59.7 the next two years. A hot start during the 2006 Super Bowl season bumped him up to 73.9 in 2006, followed by 66.4 and 59.7 his final two years in Chicago. But he can’t get any lower than he is this year: 5.6 after completing 3 of 9 passes with an interception and a fumble in brief relief of Matt Schaub for the Texans on Sunday. Typical Rex, he blamed rust, but promised better in the future. “Now I feel like I’ll be ready to play if Matt can’t go,” he told the Houston Chronicle.

Considine hurt in Jaguars win

Jacksonville (7-5) has won four of its last five games to be one of the most surprising teams in the playoff hunt after going 5-11 last year. Veteran safety Sean Considine (a Byron High School alum) returned an interception 25 yards to help the Jaguars edge Buffalo 18-15 three weeks ago, but left a loss to San Francisco with a mild concussion and injured his left hamstring in Sunday’s 23-18 win over the Texans.

A MAC QB comes back

Three years ago, the MAC briefly had more starting NFL quarterbacks (five) than any college conference except the Pac-10 (six). But Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski and Byron Leftwich soon lost their jobs and Chad Pennington got hurt. That left only two-time Super Bowl champ Ben Roethlisberger. Until Gradkowski resurfaced in Oakland.

The former Buc and Brown, who used to torment Northern Illinois when he played for Toledo, threw more TD passes (three) in the final 10 minutes of Sunday’s upset win in Pittsburgh than former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell had thrown in nine starts (two). The woeful Raiders are 2-1, with wins over powerful Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, with Gradkowski after being 11-30 since drafting Russell.

Forte vows to be aggressive

Matt Forte said he takes the Bears ranking next-to-last in the NFL in rushing personally.

“I’m a running back; I can’t help but take it personally,” Forte said Sunday after running for 91 yards, his second-highest total of the season.

Forte also admitted he needed to be more aggressive. “If something is there, take it,” he said. “If it’s not, try to make something happen. That’s my job as a running back. I’ve got to play like that.”

Patriots WRs rank 1-2

The Patriots’ Randy Moss (1,058 yards) and Wes Welker (1,053) rank 1-2 in the NFL in receiving. Great receiving tandems are a great sign of Super Bowl success. John Stallworth and Lynn Swann won four Super Bowls together with Pittsburgh and Jerry Rice and John Taylor won three in San Francisco. Since 2002, five sets of receivers have both ranked in the top five, and all played on a Super Bowl team together: Moss and Welker; the Colts’ Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne; Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin; the Rams’ Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, and Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress.

Rockford Register Star assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on the NFL appear Tuesdays. He can be reached at (815) 987-1383 ormtrowbridge@rrstar.com.