First win is nice, but Colts still have long ways to go

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Caldwell had the same serious, intense look he always brings to his Monday news conferences. He just sounded different.

Less than 24 hours after eliminating the possibility of a winless season, Caldwell took a deep breath and sounded relieved that the Colts could finally focus on something else following a 27-13 win over the Tennessee Titans.

"Any time you get a win, it's good, and these guys have been working hard," Caldwell said. "The guys haven't been complaining, they've worked together, they've fought together, so it's good to get a good result. I think it gives our guys a little bit of a lift."

The Colts (1-13) will take anything after this miserable season in which Peyton Manning hasn't played a down for the first time in his career and won't play in the final two games. Team vice chairman Bill Polian made that clear. The loss of defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, to season-ending rotator cuff injuries in the first two weeks, left a huge void.

Coaches have had to constantly shuffle the offensive line and secondary, creating more holes, and it took 14 games and three different quarterbacks before the Colts posted their first win without Manning in 14 seasons behind Dan Orlovsky. The last quarterback not named Manning to win in a Colts jersey was Jim Harbaugh.

But winning just one isn't good enough for a team that posted an NFL-record 115 regular-season victories over the last decade.

"It means a lot (to win), but we're a proud ballclub, so one game out of 13 or 14, we still have a ways to go," defensive end Robert Mathis said Sunday.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.

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