Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 23, 2012

Sunday’s Indianapolis-Buffalo game a must-win for both squads

Arians says this is a playoff game for Colts.

By Tom James
For the Kokomo Tribune

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is quite aware that the Buffalo Bills are coming into Sunday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff, CBS Sports) facing a do-or-die situation in terms of the postseason.

Buffalo snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 19-14 Thursday night win over Miami, improving its record to 4-6 on the season. The Bills remain in contention for an AFC wild-card berth but just barely.

Indianapolis and the Pittsburgh Steelers are the current leaders for those wild-card spots with identical 6-4 marks. Arians told his team this week that the Colts had better approach this week’s game with the same “must-win” mentality as Buffalo’s players are expected to display.

“This is a playoff game. This is a playoff game for us. We have to take that approach because Buffalo is taking that approach. They’re do-or-die, we better be do-or-die. That’s been our mindset all week,” the veteran NFL assistant said Friday.

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne was quick to agree.

“Probably from here on out. Every game is going to be a playoff game. We are in a position now where if we win out, we’re in. There are a lot of teams that want our position,” Wayne voiced. “They are going to treat every game like a playoff game and we need to do the same. Every game from now on is going to be real crucial for this ball club.”

The Colts can’t afford to be caught scoreboard watching either.

“I’m not really looking at none of it. I’m just looking at us. I just know if we take care of [us], we’re fine. That’s to keep winning games. The more we win, the better our opportunity,” Wayne added. “I don’t think anybody in this locker room should look at who’s in front of us and who’s behind us. Just play Colts football and win games and we’ll be fine.

“This is the journey that all teams want to take. This is the approach that we wanted. We wanted to give ourselves a chance. Once you get to the dance, anything can happen.”

Arians not looking

With the success that the Colts have had so far this season, it’s not surprising that the team’s interim coach might find his name on some NFL head coaching search lists at some point.

Arians, though, isn’t thinking about those possibilities right now.

“I don’t even think about it. For me, it’s still a day-to-day process just like the players. If I ask the players to stay within the moment, you better stay in there yourself,” he said Friday. “We’ll cross those bridges, if there are bridges to cross, some day. Right now, it’s just the Buffalo Bills.”

Injury list

The Colts are expected to have wide receiver Donnie Avery (concussion), free safety Antoine Bethea (ankle), running back Donald Brown (knee), nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee), quarterback Andrew Luck (knee), and cornerback Teddy Williams (hamstring) all available to play against the Bills on Sunday.

Tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) and defensive end Cory Redding (hip) are questionable. Cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) is doubtful.

Avery, Bethea, Brown, Chapman, Luck, Redding and Williams all fully practiced on Friday. Fleener was limited. Davis did not participate.