A look at the Seahawks’ Week 4 opponent:
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Lucas Oil Stadium
Record: 3-0, after beating the defending AFC East champion Dolphins and defending NFC champion Cardinals on the road in a six-day span
Where the Colts rank: No. 4 on offense (26th rushing, 1st passing); No. 12 on defense (21st rushing, 10th passing)
Series: Colts lead 5-4, including a 28-13 win on Christmas Eve in 2005 – the last regular-season game between the teams
Star power: Peyton Manning. The three-time league MVP is playing like he’ll win a fourth. His 117.1 passer rating is second in the NFL to the Saints’ Drew Brees (118.1). He’s also second in the league in touchdown passes (seven) and passing yards (983) and first in average gain per attempt (10.24). Stopping Manning is probably asking too much, but you have to find a way to at least disrupt the No. 1-ranked passing game in the league – or it will be a long afternoon. Just ask the Cardinals, who were torched for four TD passes on Sunday.
Unsung hero: Pierre Garcon. No Marvin Harrison (released)? No Anthony Gonzalez (injured)? No problem. Garcon, a second-year receiver from Mount Union, has not only stepped in, he has stepped up. Garcon is averaging 19.4 yards on his seven receptions and has scored two touchdowns. Wide receiver Reggie Wayne (20 receptions for a 16.3-yard average and two TDs) and tight end Dallas Clark (18 for 15.8 and two TDs) remain Manning’s go-to guys, but Garcon has been a pleasant – and productive – surprise as the third option.
On the spot: Adam Vinatieri. The Colts’ clutch kicker hasn’t been in the first three games. He missed a 32-yard field goal against the Cardinals and is 3 of 5 overall. Not that it mattered Sunday, with the Colts rolling to a 31-10 victory. But at some point, the Colts are going to need him to make a clutch kick.
Burning question: Will Dwight Freeney play against the Seahawks? The Colts’ spinning top of a pass rusher left the game against the Cardinals after he felt something pop in his right thigh. The team is being coy about the injury and the status of its four-time Pro Bowl defensive end, but the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Freeney will miss two weeks. If that is the case, the Colts definitely will miss Freeney. After collecting two sacks against the Cardinals, he ranks third in the league with four.
Familiar faces: Line coach Howard Mudd (1978-82, 1993-97), linebackers coach Mike Murphy (1995-97) and defensive special assistant Rod Perry (1989-91) also coached for the Seahawks, while former Seahawks tight end Pete Metzelaars (1982-84) is the Colts’ assistant offensive line coach.
The last word: “He plays it as if it’s the most important play in the Super Bowl. That’s how he prepares in the meeting room and in everything he does. That’s the reason why he’s so consistent. He does it week in week out, day after day, meeting after meeting. He’s a real professional.” – Colts first-year head coach Jim Caldwell, on Manning