- Associated Press - Saturday, September 17, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The usually quiet Indianapolis Colts are becoming a surly bunch.

Last week, they bristled at the suggestion they’d falter without Peyton Manning. After a dismal season-opener, they’re downright ornery.

Players and coaches spent most of the week trying to figure out what went wrong at Houston, how to make corrections and map out a game plan to rebound against Cleveland this week.

It’s not just talk. The Colts are spitting mad.

“It’s not easy any time you get beaten like that,” Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday said. “But we’ve got too much pride in our team and our teammates to just take it.”

Conventional wisdom suggests that this is how the Colts will look without Manning, a four-time league MVP who had started 227 consecutive games including the playoffs before last week. He’s expected to miss at least two months after having his third neck surgery in 19 months last week.

The Colts (0-1) claim those suggestions are, well, premature.

Indy hasn’t started 0-2 since 1998, Manning’s rookie season, and the Colts have no intention of doing that this year. But they must prove they can win without their leader.

“Regardless of anything that happens _ Peyton being there, Peyton not being there _ it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a bad season,” defensive end Dwight Freeney said. “It just means you had a bad first week. That’s Round 1 out of 16 rounds. We lost Round 1. We just have to do things a little better.”

Round 2 comes Sunday against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium, this year’s Super Bowl site.

Plenty has changed since these teams last met in 2008.

New coach Pat Shurmur is looking for his first career win. Colt McCoy has taken over at quarterback, and Peyton Hillis is the Browns‘ workhorse running back.

However, the results haven’t changed much over the last three years.

The Browns (0-1) have won more than six games just one time since 2002, and are undergoing another rebuilding project.

“For us, it’s all about focusing on the next game we have, focusing on the 2011 Browns, learning the offense, learning the defense, getting wins, putting wins together, and turning this into a winning team,” left tackle Joe Thomas said. “All those historical things kind of take care of themselves.”

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