Though Andrew Luck has shown flashes of brilliance in his first season, he knows he needs to be more consistent from week to week.
Brandon Weeden's rookie year has been marked by growing pains, but the fellow first-round pick helped his team to its first win with an impressive effort last weekend.
Luck looks to regroup from what may have been his worst game, while Weeden tries to take another step in the right direction as the Indianapolis Colts host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
After leading the Colts (2-3) to a thrilling 30-27 come-from-behind win over Green Bay in Week 5, Luck's lack of experience was on display last Sunday in a 35-9 loss to the New York Jets. He went 22 of 44 for 280 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, also losing a fumble.
Indianapolis is 0-3 when Luck completes less than 52 percent of his passes.
"I think it's imperative to be critical of yourself to realize when the blame is on you and figure out why I made the mistake and how I can avoid doing it next time, how can I rectify it," he said.
"It's learning how to be consistent, and that's something I've struggled with ... As a team, we have to learn to come out and consistently be good."
The Browns (1-5) had been consistently bad before snapping a team record-tying 11-game losing streak with a 34-24 win over Cincinnati last Sunday. Weeden threw for 231 yards and found Josh Gordon for a 71-yard touchdown and Benjamin Watson for a three-yard scoring strike.
"We're scoring a lot points, our defense is playing well, offensively we're starting to click and mesh," said Weeden, who's been picked off a league-high 10 times. " ... We've got a long ways to go, but we're on the right track."
Weeden outshined Luck in the Fiesta Bowl last season as Oklahoma State defeated Stanford 41-38 in overtime. Weeden, though, could be in for a tough test against an Indianapolis team that's giving up 200.0 yards per game through the air, third fewest in the league.
While the Colts have been tough against the pass, they haven't been able to stop anyone on the ground. Surrendering 159.0 rushing yards per contest, Indianapolis gave up a season-worst 252 last weekend.
"We're going to have to stop the run. Once you get blood in the water, everybody is (going to try to capitalize) - whether it's a blitz on defense that the offense doesn't pick up, you're going to see it over and over until you put the fire out," interim coach Bruce Arians told the team's official website.
"It's more fundamentals than anything else, fundamentals and mental errors. Defensively, we just have to fit in the right gaps and tackle."
Indianapolis may have Pro Bowl linebacker Robert Mathis back Sunday after he missed one game due to a knee injury, and that could help his team contain Browns rookie Trent Richardson. The bruising back suffered a rib cartilage injury against the Bengals, but practiced this week and appears ready to play Sunday.
Cleveland will now try to win two in a row for the first time since Sept. 18 and 25, 2011, but the club has dropped 10 straight on the road. Their last victory away from home was that Sept. 18 game, 27-19 over Indianapolis that snapped a five-game losing streak in the series.
The Browns lost a team-record 11 straight on the road Dec. 7, 1974-Sept. 26, 1976.
"This is about trying to build a consistent winner," coach Pat Shurmur said. "It's our first win in a long time. We've been building up to it. I've sat here and said I think we're getting better. It's easy for folks to roll their eyes until you win a game.
"Now that we've won one, I want our players to get greedy with that feeling and go out and try to win against the Colts."
- Indianapolis Colts
- Brandon Weeden
- Cleveland Browns
- Andrew Luck