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Next-Day Notebook: The Colts, no stranger to close games, present challenge on short week

Posted Dec 11, 2017

Head Coach Vance Joseph weighs in on the Colts, their second-year quarterback, the Broncos' protocol for concussions and his decision to give Marcus Rios a jersey on Sunday.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Broncos dealt with their eight-game losing streak, the Indianapolis Colts were facing some difficulties of their own.

A trying season continued Sunday in Buffalo, as the Colts fell to the Bills in a snowy game in which Indianapolis appeared to take a late lead off a run-pass option to Jack Doyle for a two-point conversion.

The referees called offensive pass interference, though, and the Colts fell in overtime 13-7.

That’s nothing new for this Colts team. Five of Indianapolis’ previous six games have been decided by six points or fewer, and the Colts have been involved in eight such games during the course of the season.

The Colts have won just three of those eight games but have held halftime leads in six of the contests.

“This football team’s played hard all year,” Head Coach Vance Joseph said Monday. “Their record doesn’t speak to it, but they’ve played in tight games all year. Even yesterday in that snowstorm, it was a one-possession game the whole game, and they had a two-point play that put them up that was called back. They probably should’ve won the football game. All games are tough, so it’s going to be a tough out.”

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who the Colts acquired early this season in a trade from New England, is just one reason Indianapolis should prove to be a tough opponent on the road.

The second-year player has completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 2,611 yards through 12 starts, and he’s thrown for 11 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He’s also added 216 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

“He’s a good young quarterback,” Joseph said. “He’s smart and tough. He can scramble with the football; he’s rushed for over [215] yards. It’s always a fine line between rushing [too far] past guys and having a rush plan, but you don’t want your guys to be so cautious about his scrambling ability and not get after him. It’s a fine line between being scared of a guy’s legs vs. rushing the guy.”

Von Miller and Co. will have their hands full Thursday.

• Texans quarterback Tom Savage exited Sunday’s game against the 49ers with a concussion, but he initially reentered the game following the injury. The Texans then decided Savage needed further evaluation and removed him from the game again. A video of Savage’s injury led to league-wide discussion regarding the concussion protocol, and Joseph addressed that in part Monday.

He said that during the game, information about players in the concussion protocol comes from Director of Sports Medicine Steve ‘Greek’ Antonopulos and his staff.

“[I hear] from ‘Greek’ and those guys,” Joseph said. “That’s always tough. Our obligation to our player is always to make sure he’s right [and] he’s OK to play again. That deal yesterday was a little strange. I’m not sure what happened there, but our players’ safety is always first.”

• Undrafted rookie Marcus Rios was active Sunday as the Broncos’ fourth cornerback over third-round draft pick Brendan Langley. Joseph explained the decision to sit Langley, who has played 10 games for the Broncos as a rookie.

“It was strictly about Rios,” Joseph said. “He’s practiced well. He played well last week for us, so it was more about Rios than it was about Langley.”

• Joseph updated the status of safeties Justin Simmons and Jamal Carter, who each suffered injuries during Sunday's game. Simmons has a mild high-ankle sprain, Joseph said, adding that they expect him to be day to day.

In Simmons' absence, Will Parks stepped up and contributed to the shutout performance.

"Will played solid," Joseph said. "Will's been a starter all year for us, so I wasn't surprised that he could go into the game and operate for us. It wasn't at dime; it was more at high safety. But he's repped there all season. I wasn't surprised he played well."

Carter has a bruised shoulder, but Joseph said he's "getting better by the moment" and should be ready for Thursday.

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