Colts still trying to dig out of winless hole

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Colts are winless and frustrated.

They’ve blown leads and struggled to score. They’ve trailed early and been beaten late. They’re hearing fans demanding changes, with growing calls to tank the season so the Colts can get the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.

This is what happens when the league’s fastest-starting team over the last decade finds itself as the only 0-5 team in the NFL.

“It’s a place we’ve not been before,” right guard Ryan Diem said. “At the same time, we’re focused on the most important game, which is the next game.”

But this is new territory for the current batch of Colts.

Until now, not a single player on this year’s roster had pulled on an Indianapolis jersey with an 0-5 record. Only one Colts player, Peyton Manning, had experienced 0-4 in Indy. His first NFL win came in Week 5 of his rookie season.

There’s no magic plug to right the Colts‘ sinking ship.

Manning has undergone neck surgery twice since May 23, hasn’t played a down since training camp opened and is unlikely to return to the practice field before December. Backup Kerry Collins still has not been cleared to play since his concussion against Pittsburgh on Sept. 25.

Injuries to starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo (left ankle), backup left tackle Ben Ijalana (left knee) and right guard Ryan Diem (left ankle) have forced the Colts to juggle their already inexperienced offensive line.

The defense has put two captains _ Gary Brackett (left shoulder) and Melvin Bullitt (right shoulder) _ on injured reserve, ending their seasons.

Plus, the Colts could be without running back Joseph Addai or cornerback Jerraud Powers this week. Both starters left the Chiefs game early with hamstring injuries. Coach Jim Caldwell did not have an update on either player Monday.

The schedule isn’t helping, either.

Sunday’s game at Cincinnati is the start of a three-game road trip that includes stops Oct. 23 in New Orleans, Manning’s hometown, and Oct. 30 at Tennessee. The Saints lead the NFC South and the Titans are tied with Houston atop the AFC South.

And the Colts have now blown double-digit leads twice in seven days, losses that exposed perhaps Indy’s biggest problem _ its inability to finish drives on offense or games on defense.

“The reality is we haven’t finished, we haven’t won games and we’re 0-5 because of it,” center Jeff Saturday said. “If we finished games we’d be 1-and-something or 2-and-something.”

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