Stats & Info: Curtis Painter

Opposing needs dictate AFC South strategy

April, 16, 2012
Stats & Information gets you ready for the NFL Draft at the end of the month with a look at the biggest need for each team. Today, we take a look at the AFC South.

Houston Texans
Need: Wide receiver

With Andre Johnson injured most of the season, the rest of the Texans’ wide receivers couldn’t fill the void. The Texans were one of two teams that didn’t have any 30-yard receptions from their receivers on throws that traveled less than 15 yards.

Last season, Houston’s wide receivers ranked 30th in receptions (90), yards per reception (8.9) and first downs (53) and 31st in yards after catch per reception (3.1) on throws less than 15 air yards.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Indianapolis Colts
Need: Skill position players

The Colts need to replace skill players at every offensive position. In addition to departed quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts have to replace production from Joseph Addai, Jerome Felton, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme and Anthony Hill.

Also, all three quarterbacks who took a snap for the Colts last season are not under contract with the Colts - Kerry Collins (free agent), Curtis Painter (free agent) and Dan Orlovsky (signed with Tampa Bay).

Luck is just the start of Indianapolis’ rebuilding process.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Jacksonville Jaguars
Need: Pass-rushing defensive lineman

The Jaguars registered just 31 sacks in 2011, tied for 25th in the league. The problems stemmed from the Jaguars’ inability to create pressure using a four-man rush. Jacksonville sent four or fewer rushers on 77.4 percent of dropbacks, the sixth-highest percentage in the league.

Despite such a heavy reliance on standard pass rushes, Jacksonville’s defense averaged a sack once every 24.0 dropbacks using a four-man pass rush (26th in NFL).

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Tennessee Titans
Need: Cover corner

Tennessee rushed four or fewer defenders on 75 percent of dropbacks last season, but was ineffective at generating pressure. The Titans registered just 23 sacks in 2011, second-fewest in the league.

When Tennessee couldn’t get to the quarterback, their secondary was exposed. The Titans tied for 23rd in the NFL with eight interceptions and a 71.0 Total QBR when using a four-man pass rush. Kamerion Wimbley will improve the pass rush, but look for a cornerback to replace (and/or improve on) Cortland Finnegan.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied for their third straight win, spoiling the first career start of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Curtis Painter in a 24-17 victory.

Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman's ninth-career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime (according to the Elias Sports Bureau) helped Tampa Bay extend its longest win streak since winning four straight in 2008 (under Jon Gruden).

Elias also says Freeman has led seven such drives since the start of last year (five in 2010, two in 2011), tying him with Matt Ryan for the most in that span.

Freeman made some huge plays with his legs Monday. He rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the first half, made two critical plays with his feet on the Bucs' final scoring drive to help them take the lead, and then helped salt away the game with two first-down runs on the final drive.

Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount added 127 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown in the win. It was Blount's first 100-yard rushing game this season and fifth of his career.

Blount carried the ball nine times for 62 yards and a score in the fourth quarter Monday night. He proved difficult to bring down, accumulating 24 of his 62 yards after contact.

Despite taking the loss, Painter (13-30, 281 yds, 2 TD) wasn't without his moments in his first career start, connecting on an 87-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon for the game's first touchdown.

It was the longest "first touchdown pass of a player's career" since Charlie Batch had a 98-yarder for the Lions in 1998.

Curtis Painter
In the same game in which he shined, though, Painter also showed his inexperience.

The Buccaneers had great results when sending at least five pass rushers against him, as he completed only 2 of 11 passes in such situations, including a sack and fumble.

When Tampa Bay sent a four-man rush, Painter capitalized with 255 of his 281 yards, and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Garcon topped the 100-yard receiving mark for the fourth time in his career; it's his second career game with multiple touchdown catches.

Despite the efforts of Painter and Garcon, the Colts find themselves at 0-4 for the first time since 1998 and the fifth time since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. Each of the previous four times they finished the season no better than 3-13.

Only one team in NFL history has made the playoffs after starting 0-4: the 1992 San Diego Chargers.
With the Indianapolis Colts coming to town, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host their first Monday Night Football game since November 2003. Here are some storylines to watch:

Painter’s First Start
Curtis Painter is making his first career start, which rarely occurs in a Monday Night Football game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last four to do so were Aaron Rodgers (2008 vs Vikings), Philip Rivers (2006 vs Raiders), Scott Covington (2002 vs 49ers) and Shaun King (1999 vs Vikings). The good news for Painter? All four of those quarterbacks won their debuts.
Curtis Painter
Painter steps in for Kerry Collins, who is the first Week 1 starter to miss a game due to injury this season.

As the Colts seek their first win, Painter has huge shoes to fill, particularly when it comes to Monday night. Peyton Manning is 11-3 in his career on Monday, including wins in nine of his past 10 starts.

This will be the Colts' first Monday Night Football game without Manning under center since Oct. 20, 1996 against the Bills at the RCA Dome. Jim Harbaugh started and Paul Justin relieved him in a 9-6 Buffalo win.

Colts Look to Avoid 0-4
The Colts are looking to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1998, the year that Peyton Manning arrived on the scene.

Since moving to Indianapolis in 1984, the Colts have started 0-4 on four occasions. In all four of those seasons, they finished 3-13 or worse. Even with a loss on Monday, the Colts would still have a long way to go for the worst start since moving. That would be an 0-13 start back in 1986.

Any hope of a postseason would all but be erased with a loss. Since 1990, only three teams have started 0-3 and reached the postseason. Of those, only the 1992 Chargers started 0-4.

Comeback Flashback
This is the Colts' first visit to Tampa Bay since Oct. 6, 2003. In one of the most memorable Monday night games ever, the Colts scored 21 points in the final 3:37 of the 4th quarter to tie that game at 35-35 before winning it on Mike Vanderjagt's FG in OT.

Coincidently, big comebacks have been a recurring theme in the NFL this season.

There have been nine games this season in which a team has won despite trailing by at least 14 points, the most in the first four weeks of a season in league history. For the second straight Sunday, two teams (Lions and 49ers) overcame deficits of at least 20 points on the same day. It is the first time in NFL history two teams overcame 20-point deficits to win in consecutive weeks.