Biscuit back for more
Bennett in seeking another Super Bowl appearance
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Cornelius Bennett is in the playoffs for the 10th time in 14 years, having helped the Indianapolis Colts complete a dramatic turnaround with three consecutive victories.
At 35, Bennett admits he's lost some of the quickness that sent him to the Pro Bowl five times. Still, he's not ready to quit after 206 games that produced 71 1/2 sacks among more than 1,300 tackles.
"Of course, I've slowed some, but I've made up for it in wiseness," Bennett said Sunday after the Colts defeated Minnesota 31-10 to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
Experience counts in the NFL and Bennett, who played linebacker at the University of Alabama, has made it pay off in two seasons with the Colts despite battling knee injuries.
Winning has been routine in his career. Nine times, his teams won 10 or more games in a season. Today, the only player to have been on five losing teams in the Super Bowl has another shot at his first championship ring and he's cherishing the opportunity.
"I told you guys in training camp I saw something special. It's been a difficult season for us," he said. "I'm not a psychic or anything like that, but I saw the potential and we had to find it the tough way."
Three consecutive losses, and four in five games, made prospects for the playoffs bleak and skeptics wrote the Colts off.
"Sometimes, you have to find out the tough way, and that's what we did. A lot of people counted us out a long time ago. We had to come in and win three straight football games against some tough teams. Teams that were fighting for division races, home-field advantage. We came out and played some of the best defensive football I've seen in a long time."
The Colts (10-6) face Miami (11-5) Saturday at Miami, where Indianapolis recorded one of those must-win triumphs, 20-13 on Dec. 17.
The defense toughened in the past three games, holding Buffalo, Miami and Minnesota to an average of 267.3 yards. The Vikings netted just 236 Sunday, snapping Minnesota's NFL record streak of consecutive 300-yard games at 30.
Bennett, one of the team's inspirational leaders on and off the field, was especially pleased with what he saw in his teammates down the stretch.
"Our backs were against the wall. You put anybody in a corner, if they don't come out fighting, then they're chicken and there's no chickens on this football team," he said.
"We're a bunch of guys that believe in one another, and wanted to do good because we had high expectations. We would have loved to have had the division title, but it didn't work out. We're in, and that's the bottom line.
"On a personal note, I've got to be the most blessed football player to ever play in the game. ... Ten out of 14 years I've been in the playoffs, God knows I'd love to have a Super Bowl ring, but right now it doesn't get any better than this. This trip is really special."