HOUSTON -- Super Bowl hangover?
The Indianapolis Colts have the perfect tonic, and it isn't one of those crazy potions sold near the cashier at your local convenience store. Rather it's one that many pundits certainly didn't see coming before the open of the 2007 season.
|Joseph Addai (two touchdowns vs. the Texans) is no longer splitting time with Dominic Rhodes. (AP)|
That might sound strange considering all the offseason bashing the Colts took after finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February, the conventional thinking being that their personnel losses were way too many for any chance at a repeat.
Just three weeks into the 2007 season, following their 30-24 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday that wasn't as close as the score would indicate, the Colts are 3-0 and the talk of a repeat suddenly isn't so out there, is it?
In the locker room following the victory, it was clear what the Colts think.
"I think we are better," Colts safety Bob Sanders said. "We heard what a lot of people were saying about us, but who cares? We plug in players and go. People can think what they want about us, that we're not as good. They can talk about the other teams. But we're better."
When the Colts lost both starting corners and starting linebacker Cato June to free agency, then had tackle Tarik Glenn retire before the start of the season, the vultures swooped in, ready to eat the carcass.
Peyton Manning got his one Super Bowl, but there wouldn't be another in 2007. Too much attrition, they said.
For most of the offseason, I disagreed strongly with the notion they wouldn't be better. After seeing the Colts live for the first time against the Texans, I'm more convinced than ever that they are the team to beat in 2007.
Manning wouldn't bite on the this-year's-team-is-better talk after the game, but he did point out something about the 3-0 start -- last year's team lost at Houston and at Tennessee. This year's team canceled out those losses with back-to-back victories in those two spots the past two weeks.
"It certainly is a good start," Manning said.
The replacements are a big reason why. When corners Jason David and Nick Harper vaulted for the free-agent riches, the Colts had two players ready and waiting for their time to step in and play.