By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Oct. 18 2005

INDIANAPOLIS It really wasn't fair, Rams defensive tackle Ryan
Pickett grumbled. As usual, the Indianapolis Colts are dangerous on offense,
able to strike at any time behind quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver
Marvin Harrison and running back Edgerrin James.

"Everything everybody says about them is true," Pickett said. "They're very
impressive. They run the ball; they pass it. Peyton Manning controls
everything. They're very good."

Actually, the Colts had not been as productive to this point in the season.
They came into Monday night's game vs. the Rams only 12th in the 32-team NFL in
total offense.

But complicating things dramatically for the Colts' foes this season has been
their vastly improved defense. Last year, the Colts finished near the bottom of
the league in defense. Before Monday, they were permitting a meager 5.8 points
a game.

Defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis had combined for 11 sacks, and
tackle Corey Simon, a free-agent pickup in the offseason, had helped to
solidify the middle.

Indianapolis' sudden prowess on defense "puts pressure on our defense to hold
them down," Pickett said. That didn't happen Monday, as the Colts cruised to a
45-28 victory.

Defensively, "they're incredible pass rushers," Rams running back Steven
Jackson said. "Their defensive line, their team speed overall ... they're just
playing fast football right now, and that's why they're undefeated."

Wide receiver Torry Holt said: "There's not a lot of weakness in that defense.
I think they're strong in all facets. Their front seven is very, very good;
their secondary is sound. They're very disciplined, patient."

The Rams, however, had little trouble moving the ball in the early going. They
put together touchdown drives of 80 and 57 yards and led 17-0 after the first
quarter. The Colts closed to 17-14, but Jeff Wilkins' 49-yard field goal gave
the Rams a 20-14 edge at the half.

The early outburst was just a tease, however. After quarterback Marc Bulger
suffered a game-ending shoulder injury early in the second quarter and gave way
to Jamie Martin, the Rams' attack stalled.

Pickett pointed out - correctly, as it turned out - that it would be a mistake
to underestimate the Indianapolis offense, even if it hadn't been hitting on
all cylinders. "They've been driving the ball up and down the field," Pickett
said. "They just haven't been scoring as many touchdowns as they have in the
past."

The Colts were averaging 21.2 points a game, only 15th in the NFL, but they
more than doubled that against the Rams, piling up the biggest point total of
their 6-0 season.