The 24-hour rule has passed for the Indianapolis Colts and they're back to the grind. It might be a little easier to grind this week.
They're allowed to savor a win – or mourn a loss – for 24 hours and then it's time to move on. The Colts' 27-7 win at San Francisco was the talk of the NFL on Sunday night and all day Monday.
Now it's time to regroup and plan ahead. Another road trip is on the horizon at beleaguered Jacksonville. The Colts' confidence has to be at a season high.
“We're not worried about our opponent, and that isn't in a disrespectful manner,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “It's just like we went in as a staff and approached them before last week's ballgame. It's not about them, it's about us. It's about how we prepare, it's about how we handle our business, it's how we practice on Wednesday, it's how we practice on Thursday, it's how we handle Friday, it's how we handle success.”
The win over the 49ers could be considered the best win of Pagano's tenure, even including the emotional comeback against Green Bay last season. The Colts were 10-point underdogs on the road, with some injured starters. The 49ers were coming off a bad loss, so they had extra motivation, too.
Human nature being what it is, it'll be tougher to get up for the Jaguars, even though they are an AFC South opponent.
“Talking to the team after the game – great, great, great win,” Pagano said. “Great team win. Great win for this city. Great win for our fans. Great win for the organization. Unbelievable. But we all understand that it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. And it's Week 3.”
The Colts (2-1) play the Jaguars (0-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday in Jacksonville.
With the win over the 49ers, the Colts moved to 6-0 after losses since Pagano's staff took over last season.
“This team bounces back as good as any team I've ever been around,” Pagano said. “Obviously, we held that streak and kept that streak alive. Again, they just don't fluctuate. We just talk about consistency. I keep going back to it, sticking to the process. They've bought into that, again, since Day One. We wanted to come out of this game and kind of see 'OK, who are we? Let's find out exactly who we are.' We kind of know what we are. But we found out who we are and what we're about and the identity. This team understands our identity and how we're built and what we're built to do.”
Part of that identity on offense has been establishing the running game. The Colts rushed for 179 yards, breaking 100 yards for the third time in three games. The last time the Colts opened a season with three games of 100 or more yards was 1989.
Ahmad Bradshaw led the team with 95 yards rushing and the Colts touchdowns were all runs – by Trent Richardson, Bradshaw and quarterback Andrew Luck.
“I think when you're able to run the ball like that, it does frustrate a defense,” Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “I know it helps me out especially on the edges. It frustrates defensive ends that they can't just rush the passer all day. It kind of keeps us as the attacker and the fact that we're able to be multidimensional and I imagine that was frustrating for the defense.”