SEATTLE -- Talk about a reversal of things for the Indianapolis Colts.
For so many years they would start games slow and then turn it on in the second half. Now the Colts start games that give them buoyancy only to sputter along in the final 30 minutes of the game.
That was the case the past three weeks. And in the category of not being surprising, the Colts are 1-2 in those games. Until they figure it out, they'll likely continue to end up on the disastrous side of things.
"That's the challenge for us," Colts veteran safety Darius Butler said. "It used to be starting fast was our issue. Now it's a new team, a new year and it's our challenge this year is to put four quarters of good ball together. That's what we have to figure out how to do."
The Colts went into the locker room at halftime leading 15-10 and with the thoughts of winning on the road in one of the NFL's toughest stadiums. A half that saw the Colts dominate the time possession and pile up more than 200 yards of total offense against one of the league's top defenses. In the second half they totaled 32 yards of offense, picked up five first downs and were outscored 36-3.
That type of production won't beat some of the worst teams in the league. It definitely won't work against a playoff-caliber team.
"It's very simple, it's one play at a time," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "You stay on process and you don't worry about results. You have to keep your composure and you have to stay poised and we didn't do that and it steamrolled on us."
Are the Colts not mentally strong enough to play a complete game or are they not capable of executing the game plan?
"It's a combination of both,” Colts running back Robert Turbin said. "We have to do a better job of keeping our focus and our intensity as well. Our energy level has to remain high beyond the first half. Only we can finish. We haven't been able to do that. We have to fix it if we want to win."
The second-half problem started in Week 2 for the Colts.
They scored three points and couldn't hold a 10-point fourth quarter lead in their overtime loss against Arizona. In Week 3 the Colts held on to beat Cleveland by three points after squandering a 21-point lead while gaining just 75 yards and picking up four first downs in the second half.
"It's a matter of coming out and playing a complete football game," offensive lineman Jack Mewhort said. "We have to put two good halves of Colts football together. We have yet to do that. I think we've played one good half of football and that's not enough in the NFL."
The Colts face the winless San Francisco 49ers in what will likely be an emotional weekend with the unveiling of the Peyton Manning statue and retiring of his No. 18 jersey. The 49ers have lost their past three games by a total of eight points.
"It's a very long season," linebacker John Simon said. "We're fortunate right now that it's early in the season and we have time to correct these errors."