Colts preparing for another tough test against Big Ben

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Colts cornerback Vontae Davis watched most of last year's game at Pittsburgh wishing he could have helped.

A knee injury in the first quarter never gave him the opportunity.

Now, after watching the 51-point debacle all over again on tape, Davis and his teammates will have another chance to get it right Sunday night.

"It's a new season, and all we can do is try to get better as a group," Davis said. "This is probably the best receiving corps we've faced this year."

Indy's defense went into the 2014 game playing its best ball of the season. It wasn't giving up many third-down conversions, had just shutout Cincinnati and had held four its previous five opponents to 17 or fewer points.

This year, the AFC South co-leaders have won three straight to match a season high and allowed just 19 points per game since the start of November to four teams in the playoff hunt. Last weekend, they shutout Tampa Bay in the second half.

The Colts defense has held the last six quarterbacks it has faced --Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston -- to these combined averages: 57.0 completion percentage, 261.2 yards, 12 TDs and seven interceptions for a rating of 81.99.

HIGHEST-PAID NFL PLAYERS:

33 PHOTOS
Highest paid player on every NFL team 2015
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Colts preparing for another tough test against Big Ben

32. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns — $9,000,000

Position: Left tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $8.8 million salary, $200,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas has started every game of his 9-year NFL career.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts — $11,000,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Hilton's spot on this list will be short-lived as quarterback Andrew Luck is due for a new contract that will likely challenge the all-time records.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

30. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals — $11,719,114

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.6 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Peterson's $70.1 million contract is nearly identical to the one signed by Darrelle Revis with the Jets.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

29. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers — $12,800,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.4 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Colin Kaepernick's $114 million contract was never as good as it sounded and chances are he will never see the end of it.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

26t. DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Levy's $33.8 million contract is a distant fourth when ranking the total value of contracts for Lions players, but he has the benefit of a signing bonus this year. Over the next four years, his salary is a more reasonable $5-7 million per year.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

26t. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs — $13,000,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Houston's 6-year, $101 million is $35 million bigger than any other linebacker's contract, but $8.5 million of his $20.5 million signing bonus was deferred until next year.

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

26t. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings — $13,000,000

Position: Running Back

2015 earnings breakdown: $11.0 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: After missing nearly the entire 2014 season, Peterson is back and already leading the NFL in rushing through the first four weeks. His 3-year, $42 million contract did not come with a signing bonus, so it is basically a year-to-year deal.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

24t. Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia Eagles — $13,500,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $6.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: His 6-year, $63 million is fourth among cornerbacks in terms of total value.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

24t. Gerald McCoy, Tampa Bay Bucs — $13,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.5 million roster bonus, $5.0 million salary, $2.0 million option bonus.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

23. Jimmy Smith, Baltimore Ravens — $14,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary

One thing to know: Smith's contract is a distant second on the Ravens in terms of total value, behind quarterback Joe Flacco, but Flacco will only make $8.8 million this year.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

22. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots — $15,000,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million signing bonus, $4.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: With the Patriots locking up Gronkowski to a 6-year, $54 million contract in 2012, they got one of the best steals in the NFL. Gronk will have salaries of $2.25 million and $4.25 million the next two years.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

22t. Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos — $15,000,000

Position: Quarterback and Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: Manning: $15 million salary; Thomas: $6.5 million roster bonus, $4.5 million salary, $4.0 million signing bonus.

One thing to know: Manning can also earn a $2 million bonus if the Broncos reach the Super Bowl and another $2 million if they win. Thomas recently signed a 5-year, $70 million contract with exactly half of that ($35 million) fully guaranteed.

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

20t. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers — $15,100,000

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $13.0 million signing bonus, $1.2 million salary, $500,000 roster bonus, $400,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Randall Cobb signed a 4-year, 40.0 million extension this off-season.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

20t. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars — $15,100,000

Position: Tight End

2015 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million signing bonus, $9.0 million salary, $100,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Thomas signed a 5-year, $46.0 million contract with the Jags as a free agent this summer, but has yet to play in a game because of a hand injury.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

19. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders — $15,177,266

Position: Wide Receiver

2015 earnings breakdown: $14.7 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Amari Cooper is already looking like he is ready to be the next great wide receiver in the NFL.

(Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

17. Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams — $15,788,756

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.2 million roster bonus, $5.6 million salary.

One thing to know: After recording 19 sacks in 2013, Quinn signed a 4-year, $57.0 million extension. He had 10.5 sacks in 2014.

(Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)

16. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets — $16,000,000

Position: Cornerback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million salary.

One thing to know: No player has gambled on himself more than Revis, and it keeps paying off, turning a nonguaranteed contract into $68 million.

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

15. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans — $16,305,164

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.9 million signing bonus, $435,000 salary.

One thing to know: Mariota is actually the highest-paid rookie this year, as top pick Jameis Winston had 35% of his $17.0 million signing bonus deferred until 2016.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys — $17,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million restructure bonus, $1.0 million salary.

One thing to know: Romo's 6-year, $108 million contract originally called for a $17 million salary this season. By turning $16 million of that into a bonus, the Cowboys are able to spread the impact to the salary cap over several years. The downside is that he will count $21 million against the cap next season despite just an $8.5 million salary, so another restructuring will likely be done.

(Photo by Mike Stone/Getty Images)

13. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints — $19,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $18.75 million salary, $250,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Drew Brees is now in Year 4 of his 5-year, $100 million contract, and the back-loaded deal is starting to kill the Saints' salary cap. Brees will take up $26.4 million against the cap this year, more than $5 million more than any other player in the NFL.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

12. Ryan Kerrigan, Washington Redskins — $19,038,000

Position: Linebacker

2015 earnings breakdown: $16.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary, $250,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Kerrigan is going to be a one-hit wonder on this list, having just signed a 5-year, $57.5 million contract. His total earnings in 2016 will be just $5.3 million.

(Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

11. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans — $19,969,000

Position: Defensive End

2015 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million restructure bonus, $9.97 million salary.

One thing to know: In just the second year of his 6-year, $100 million contract, Watt has already restructured the deal once, converting his $10 million roster bonus this season into a restructure bonus, spreading the cap hit out over the next five years.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

10. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears — $20,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.5 million salary, $5.0 million restructure bonus.

One thing to know: Jay Cutler has already earned $75.7 million heading into the 2015 season, and he has played in just two playoff games, winning one.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons — $23,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $12.0 million signing bonus, $11.5 million salary.

One thing to know: Ryan still has four years remaining on his 5-year, $103.75 million contract extension.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

8. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins — $26,500,000

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.5 million signing bonus, $985,000 salary, $15,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Despite all the big contracts for quarterbacks, Suh was arguably the biggest winner, getting a megadeal worth $114 million over six years, including $60 million guaranteed. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the contract is going to become a nightmare after the second year.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

7. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals — $26,750,000

2015 earnings breakdown: $15.0 million signing bonus, $11.75 million salary.

One thing to know: Green signed a 4-year, $60 million contract just prior to the start of the season. The $15.0 million-per-year average is second only to Calvin Johnson among wide receivers.

(AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

6. Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills — $27,823,530

Position: Defensive Tackle

2015 earnings breakdown: $25.0 million signing bonus, $2.8 million salary.

One thing to know: Dareus cashed in just before the start of the season with a $96.6 million contract that includes $60 million guaranteed. However, as has become the norm in the NFL, the "real guarantee" is really just his earnings this year with the rest only guaranteed against injury.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

5. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers — $31,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $1.0 million salary, $7.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Cam was one of several quarterbacks to cash in this summer, getting a 5-year, $103.8 million deal. It was his deal that set the tone for all the others.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks — $31,700,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $700,000 salary.

One thing to know: Russell Wilson is finally going to get paid, but his contract was not the game changer many were expecting.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers — $35,250,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31 million signing bonus, $1 million salary, $3.25 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed this off-season by Big Ben doesn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. However, it was better than most as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

2. Eli Manning, New York Giants — $37,000,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $31.0 million signing bonus, $5.5 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus.

One thing to knowEli Manning finally agreed to his long-anticipated contract extension that includes an NFL-record-tying $65 million guaranteed and a whopping $37 million in the first year.

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers — $37,500,000

Position: Quarterback

2015 earnings breakdown: $22.5 million signing bonus, $15.0 million salary.

One thing to know: While everybody was focused on Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, and Ndamukong Suh, it was Rivers who got the surprise monster contract of the off-season. Like Roethlisberger's deal, at $83.3 million, Rivers' new extension doesn't sound as sexy. But he got an NFL-record $65 million in guaranteed money and $54 million over the first two seasons.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Next up is an old nemesis in two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger, who gouged them for 522 yards and six touchdowns last season.

There are questions about Roethlisberger's health after he left the game last weekend complaining of concussion symptoms, but he might have a more talented supporting cast this year. The Colts (6-5) have one clear mission.

"We've got to get as many guys to him, wrap up, roll, do whatever it takes because he somehow seems to shake guys off," defensive end Kendall Langford said. "He's strong enough to throw the ball as he's going down, which he's done numerous times as everybody knows."

Indy's resurgent offense and 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck should give Indy a fighting chance at Pittsburgh (6-5). But the Colts' secondary faces the biggest challenge of all.

Not only must it contend with Roethlisberger's improvisational skills and speedy receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, Indianapolis could still be playing short-handed.

Davis hasn't quite matched his Pro Bowl season from 2014 and Indy's other starting cornerback, Greg Toler, missed the first four games this season with a neck injury. He has been susceptible to giving up big plays since returning Oct. 8.

Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams missed the last two games with a left ankle injury and it's still unclear if he'll be available Sunday night.

"I feel like we're playing good, but I don't feel like we're playing as good as we can be playing," nickel cornerback Darius Butler said. "We have to put two halves together, we have to get off the field on third downs and hold teams to field goals instead of touchdowns. Once we do that, we'll be where we should be."

And this week's game will give the Colts a chance to see how they stack up and whether they've learned anything from last season's game.

"Of course you want to be out there, but I couldn't be. I'm going to be happy to play this game," he said. "I think we're getting better, but we've still got a lot of room for improvement."

UPDATED NFL RANKINGS:

33 PHOTOS
NFL Power Rankings - 12/1
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Colts preparing for another tough test against Big Ben

32. Cleveland Browns (2-9)

Last week: 32

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

31. Tennessee Titans (2-9)

Last week: 31

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

30. San Francisco 49ers (3-8)

Last week: 29

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

29. New Orleans Saints (4-7)

Last week: 27

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

28. San Diego Chargers (3-8)

Last week: 30

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

27. Miami Dolphins (4-7)

Last week: 24

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

26. Baltimore Ravens (4-7)

Last week: 28

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

25. St. Louis Rams (4-7)

Last week: 23

(AP Photo/Frank Victores)

24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7)

Last week: 18

(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)

Last week: 22

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

22. Dallas Cowboys (3-8)

Last week: 21

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

21. Detroit Lions (4-7)

Last week: 26

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

20. Chicago Bears (5-6)

Last week: 25

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

19. Oakland Raiders (5-6)

Last week: 19

(AP Photo/James Kenney)

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)

Last week: 17

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

17. New York Giants (5-6)

Last week: 10

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

16. Buffalo Bills (5-6)

Last week: 12

(David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)

15. Washington Redskins (5-6)

Last week: 20

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)

14. New York Jets (6-5)

Last week: 16

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

13. Atlanta Falcons (6-5)

Last week: 13

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

12. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

Last week: 15

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

11. Houston Texans (6-5)

Last week: 14

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

Last week: 8

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

9. Green Bay Packers (7-4)

Last week: 6

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

8. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5)

Last week: 11

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)

Last week: 9

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3)

Last week: 7

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-2)

Last week: 4

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

4. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Last week: 3

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

3. Denver Broncos (9-2)

Last week: 5

(Photo by Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

2. New England Patriots (10-1)

Last week: 1

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

1. Carolina Panthers (11-0)

Last week: 2

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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