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Indianapolis fans have to be encouraged by their team's performance against the Steelers on Sunday night. The Colts battled valiantly with backup quarterback Curtis Painter in the second half. Joseph Addai showed signs of life, but the Steelers survived the upset bid with a late field goal to win 23-20.
The Colts are still developing their identity without Peyton Manning.
It is clear they are not the same team without No. 18. They must adjust their game plan, and it looks like they are doing so.
The Colts have now played two close games in a row. They face Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football in Week 4. The Bucs are off to a 2-1 start but have not blown anyone out. They will not blow the Colts out, either.
It is important to remember the Colts still have weapons without Manning. Kerry Collins was clearly not ready to take control of the offense in Week 1. His grasp of the offense has improved. The Colts need him to stay healthy the rest of the season, as he is a capable game manager.
With Collins at the helm and an increased emphasis on the run, the Colts should improve each week. They will play the Jaguars and Titans, two struggling teams, twice each. The rest of their non-divisional schedule is not that tough, either.
The Colts will certainly not make the playoffs, but they could win six or seven games. Without Peyton Manning, that would be an accomplishment.