Curtis Painter is the least of Colts’ problems, but isn’t designated starter yet (updated)


Curtis Painter directs the Indianapolis Colts’ offense. (Brian Blanco / AP)

Despite his performance Monday night, Curtis Painter hasn’t been designated the Indianapolis Colts’ starter for Sunday’s game against Kansas City.

“We’re not going to make that decision today,” Coach Jim Caldwell said. “I can tell you he did the things we asked him to do. Obviously you can see he had some bright spots, but we’ll see how things go the next day or so.”

Filed at 2:17 p.m.

It was undeniably odd to see a maestro other than Peyton Manning standing at the line of scrimmage, directing and commanding members of the Indianapolis Colts’ offense.

But Curtis Painter was the guy in charge Monday night, with Manning up in the booth alternately applauding and looking deflated as the Colts lost 24-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night.

All things considered, it could have been worse.

The Colts, for a time, looked as if they might win for the first time this season. They even led 17-10 in the second half with Painter making his first start in place of with Kerry Collins, lured out of retirement to sub for Manning, out with concussion symptoms. And, sure, Painter was helped mightily by Pierre Garcon, who converted two catches into TDs of 87 and 59 yards.

“I think we're close,” said Painter, a former Purdue QB who completed 13 of 30 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. “We're just scratching for a win here. Everybody is playing hard. That's one thing about our team. We're not going to quit. We're going to continue to battle and hopefully get over the hump.”

Now what happens to Painter, who was sacked four times and couldn’t get the offense untracked late in the game? Will he be the starter Sunday? He said he’s just hoping for a chance against the one-win Kansas City Chiefs in Indianapolis but admitted that it’s “out of my hands.”

“It's always a little easier when you know you're going to get some playing time,” Painter said. “We got off to a good start and put some points on the board. But obviously we have to find a way to put more points on the board and move the ball a little bit better.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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