By TOM JAMES CNHI News Service
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — For the Indianapolis Colts’ offense through the first two weeks of the season, it’s been a tale of two halves.
The Colts have prospered moving the football in the first and second quarters in games against Oakland (a 21-17 win) and Miami (a 24-20 loss), scoring 31 of their combined 41 points and combining for 471 of their two-game total of 822 offensive yards.
In both games, opposing defenses over the final two quarters have been able to limit the number of times that Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck has been able to find receivers Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton on a regular basis.
The Colts have also put themselves in bad positions through penalties or not coming up with big plays when given the opportunity.
So what’s the deal?
Luck thinks it’s more about what the Colts aren’t doing well as compared to what opposing defenses are coming up with.
“I think we just need a little more focus. I realize it’s a long ball game. We’ve got great veterans in the locker room and I think we’ve got great football players,” the second-year QB said.
“We realize we can’t survive [our] mistakes every week. We can’t make as many mistakes, especially in the second half [of games]. Maybe that is a little bit of a lack of focus or whatever it is. But it’s something we’ll focus on and hopefully improve upon.”
One thing is certain. Close, down-to-the-wire games have been the norm through the first two weeks of the NFL season.
Because of that, even the most minor of mistakes will be magnified.
“In my short time frame in this league, you realize that everybody’s good,” Luck said. “There are freak players on both sides of the ball. There are great coaches all over the place. And you really got to limit your mistakes.
“Often times it does come down to who’s made the less mistakes. And they will come back to bite you in the rear as they did last weekend to us.”
Forget Sunday’s loss and move on — that’s what the Colts are going to attempt to do heading into this week’s road game in San Francisco.
“We had our chances to win. Looking at the [game] tape, you look for positives,” coach Chuck Pagano said of Indianapolis’ 24-20 loss to the Dolphins.
“We pointed [the positives] out [to the team]. We made the corrections and tried to emphasize in all areas the mistakes being made and the corrections we’ve made. We can’t have repeat offenders.”
San Francisco has the same feeling. The 49ers dropped a 29-3 road decision to NFC West rival Seattle on Sunday night.
“Yeah, I think both facilities will be similar in their approach this week. Any time you lose, it’s never fun,” Pagano said. “... Everybody is miserable until you get to tee it up again the following Sunday and hopefully get a win and get that sour taste out of your mouth. They’re coming off a tough loss. We’re coming off a tough loss. I think the mindsets will probably be very similar.”
Pagano tried to explain the penalty called on the Colts prior to an apparent Luck touchdown pass to tight end Coby Fleener in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
Indianapolis was flagged for an illegal shift on the play, nullifying the score. Game officials said that Wayne, who had gone in motion, had not set himself for a second before the snap of the ball.
“It’s actually when you break the huddle and you get in your initial alignment, all 11 players, before you do anything else, all 11 players have to be set for one second,” he said.
Did the Colts coach agree with the call? He wouldn’t say.
“That’s what [the game officials] said,” Pagano concluded.
Offensive guard Donald Thomas (torn quad tendon) will miss the remainder of the season after he was hurt in the first quarter of the Miami game. He is scheduled to undergo surgery sometime this week. Thomas will be placed on the injured reserve list.
“Feel sick about it. He’s in good spirits and he’s a veteran and he’s a pro and he’ll know how to get himself rehab and get through it and be back better than ever next year,” Pagano said.
Heyward-Bey (shoulder/back/ribs) is expected to return to practice this week. He was hurt after falling awkwardly while attempting to catch a pass against the Dolphins. Heyward-Bey underwent an magnetic resonance imaging test after the game.
“MRI was negative. So he should be ready to go by Wednesday. If not then, Thursday. That’s good news,” Pagano said.
The injury was initially announced as a rib issue. Pagano later talked about Heyward-Bey’s shoulder.
“I think it’s his whole backside, the way he landed. He’s got a little bit of everything back there. Again, the MRI was negative. It’s a little bit of shoulder, little bit of rib, little bit of back,” he explained.
Tight end Dwayne Allen (hip), meanwhile, will still be listed as day-to-day heading into this week’s road game with San Francisco. Allen was hurt early in the season-opening win at Oakland and did not play in the loss to the Dolphins.
Running back Miguel Maysonet was signed to the team’s practice squad Monday.
Maysonet (5-10, 210) was originally signed by Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent on April 29 and was waived on May 20. He was then signed by the Cleveland Browns, who waived him on Aug. 30.
With Thomas going down with his injury, look for Indianapolis to probably add another offensive lineman to either the active roster or the practice squad today.
Upcoming games Sunday at San Francisco (1-1) Sept. 29 at Jacksonville (0-2) Oct. 6 Seattle (2-0) Oct. 14 at San Diego (1-1) Oct. 20 Denver (2-0)