INDIANAPOLIS – With seven of the Indianapolis Colts' eight wins coming by one score, and five of those requiring a game-winning drive, the Colts are used to fourth-quarter tension.
Colts interim coach Bruce Arians isn't even sure what he'd do if they didn't need a two-minute drill at the end.
“I'm kind of happy if we have one,” Arians said. “As long as we have one, I'm OK with it, because I think we've got the chance to win. (A big fourth-quarter lead) would be nice, but I don't see it happening.”
The Colts (8-4) play the Tennessee Titans (4-8) at 1 p.m. today in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Colts turnovers during drives when they could have built a bigger lead have led to some of the hairy late-game situations, Arians said.
“The turnover ratio (the Colts are minus-16, 30th in the league), that's going to keep a lot of games in that situation, when you turn the ball over and don't get it back,” Arians said. “Those things are going to lead to not scoring enough points to put teams away. Or you're going to put yourself in harm's way where they're going to get more points than they should. That's kind of the way it's been all year.”
The Colts trailed 13-6 in the fourth quarter of their first game against the Titans on Oct. 28, but tied the score on a Delone Carter leap into the endzone. The Colts won the overtime coin toss and drove 80 yards for the winning score, with Vick Ballard taking a short Andrew Luck pass and diving into the end zone for the win.
“They are minus-16 (in turnover ratio), which usually doesn't mean that you have a wining record,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “They are making plays when they need to and that overcomes everything, even, in this case, turnovers. That's what they're doing. We found out in our game.”
Colts receiver Reggie Wayne calls some of the close games an example of the Colts beating the Colts, shooting themselves in the foot.
But he's encouraged by the fact Luck and the offense always seem to find a way to thrive under pressure.
“I think everybody in this locker room would rather have a peaceful fourth quarter and go on with a victory,” Wayne said. “That's just the way the game goes. Each game has its own identity and whichever way it turns, we just have to be prepared for it.”
The Colts' best game is yet to come, Wayne said.
“We haven't even played three quarters of Colts football, let alone a whole game,” Wayne said. “I think we've played in halves pretty well, but as far as a whole game, we have not done that yet. This will be a great opportunity to do that this week.”
Incidentally, for those still doubting the Colts are a legitimate contender, Wayne said the bandwagon has left the station.
“At one point in time, I still had my doors open for guys to jump on the bandwagon,” Wayne said. “But I think we can close them doors now. If you aren't a Colts believer by now, you're not going to be one.”