The 2011Indianapolis Coltsseason is the franchise's 59th season in the National Football League, the 28th in Indianapolis and the third under head coach Jim Caldwell. The Colts are coming off a 10–6 record in 2010 and a second consecutive AFC South championship, as well as a ninth consecutive playoff appearance. In 2011, the Colts were looking to set an NFL record for the most consecutive playoff appearances (10) and appear in Super Bowl XLVI, which will be held in Indianapolis. However, as of Week 11, the Colts are winless for the first time since their 1982 season in Baltimore, and for the first time in 10 years they will be eliminated from playoff contention if they lose any more games. They also matched their worst start in franchise history with their loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home—the Colts started 0–9 in 1991 and went on to be 1–15.
The Indianapolis Colts began their 2011 season at Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans. For the first time since the 1998 season, Peyton Manning was not under the helm at quarterback and it was recently acquired Kerry Collins that would take his position. The game started very well for the Colts, opening up with an interception by Melvin Bullitt that allowed the Colts to take control. However, a three and out from the offense quickly gave the Texans the ball to drive down and score a field goal and take a 3–0 lead. Collins and the Colts offense was out of sync for much of the first quarter, fumbling two snaps and giving Houston the great field position inside of the Indianapolis 40 yard line. After the first quarter, the Texans held a commanding 17–0 lead and were firing on all cylinders. The second quarter continued Houston's dominance, with all three teams of the Colts failing to stop or to execute against the Texans. At halftime, the Colts trailed Houston 34–0, the largest deficit in the entire 58-year history of the franchise. The second half saw little action with both teams taking shorter drives and in some senses, running down the clock. The Colts scored their first and the only points scored in the second half with a Reggie Wayne touchdown from Collins in the fourth quarter. The Colts went onto lose to the Texans 34–7, their second straight season starting 0–1.
The Indianapolis Colts home opener had their 2011 home opener against the 0–1 Cleveland Browns. The first quarter saw both teams getting into offensive and defensive rhythms and ended with the Colts holding only a 3–0 lead on an Adam Vinatieri field goal. Heading to the second quarter, the Colts offense began to pick up behind Kerry Collins, rookie Delone Carter, and Joseph Addai. However much of the success faded once Indianapolis reached the red zone, and were only able to come away with two field goad during the quarter. Cleveland, however, was able to capitalize on the Colts defense, and saw a touchdown pass from Colt McCoy and a touchdown run from Peyton Hillis. Cleveland went into halftime with a 14–9 lead. The Indianapolis defense was able to stop Cleveland for most of the third quarter, and allowed the struggling offensive to close the gap with a fourth Vinatieri field goal, with Cleveland still holding a 14–12 lead into the fourth quarter. Cleveland quickly drove down the field and started the quarter with a Phil Dawson field goal, allowing the Colts to remain in contention for the victory. However, after turnovers and an inability to produce on offense, Cleveland broke the game open with a Hillis touchdown run, along with another Dawson field goal with 2:59 remaining in the game. With Cleveland holding a 27–12 lead, Indianapolis was able to score their first touchdown of the game, allowing them to try an onside kick to preserve any chance of a comeback, which they were not able to convert. Cleveland finished the game and the Colts by winning 27–19, their first victory over the Colts since 1994, and the Colts first 0–2 start since the 1998 season.
Hoping to rebound from their loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts remained at home for a week three intra-conference matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Indianapolis trailed early in the first quarter as Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham got a 48 yard field goal, followed by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completing an 81 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace. The Colts would answer in the second quarter with a 21 yard field goal from kicker Adam Vinatieri, followed by defensive end Jamaal Anderson returning a fumble, forced by Dwight Freeney, 47 yards for a touchdown. Another defensive turnover allowed the Colts and Vinatieri to score a 25 yard field goal, giving them a 13–10 lead at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Pittsburgh took the lead in the fourth quarter with a Suisham 44 yard field goal, followed by safety Troy Polamalu returning a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown. Indianapolis would tie the game again on running back Joseph Addai's 6 yard touchdown run with 2:15 remaining in the game. However, the Steelers were able to capture the win with a final 38 yard field goal from Suisham, dropping the Colts to 0–3 on the season.
Hoping to rebound from their home loss to the Steelers, the Colts flew to Raymond James Stadium for a Week 4 Monday night duel with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With quarterback Kerry Collins recovering from his concussion, quarterback Curtis Painter would make his first career start. Indianapolis delivered the game's opening punch in the first quarter with a 45-yard field goal from kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Colts would add onto their lead in the second quarter with Painter finding wide receiver Pierre Garçon on an 87-yard touchdown pass, yet the Buccaneers answered with quarterback Josh Freeman getting a 1-yard touchdown run. Tampa Bay would tie the game in the third quarter with kicker Connor Barth getting a 46-yard field goal, yet Indianapolis came right back with Painter hooking up Garçon again on a 59-yard touchdown pass. Afterwards, the Buccaneers tied the game with Freeman completing a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Preston Parker. Tampa Bay would take the lead in the fourth quarter with running back LeGarrette Blount getting a 35-yard touchdown run. From there, the defense prevented any comeback from the Colts' offense. With the loss, the Colts dropped to 0–4.
After dropping their first four games of the season, the Indianapolis Colts came back to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. They game opened well for the Colts, who scored on their opening drive with another Curtis Painter to Pierre Garçon touchdown reception. In the second quarter, the Colts were able to rack up the score with an Adam Vinatieri field goal, and another Painter to Garçon touchdown, giving Indianapolis a 17–0 lead midway through the second quarter. A Kansas City touchdown pass from Matt Cassel ended the shutout but Indianapolis was able to score another touchdown later. A late Kansas City touchdown allowed the Colts to go into halftime with a 24–14 lead. Two touchdown passes from Cassel to Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston respectively allowed the Chiefs to score 21 unanswered points, and complete the comeback, winning the game 28–24, dropping the Colts to 0–5 on the season.
With the Colts losing five consecutive games starting the 2011 season, Indianapolis looked to win their first game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati opened up the game well, with a 1 yard touchdown run from Cedric Benson. With both defenses performing well throughout the remainder of the first half with the only other scores coming on a Donald Brown touchdown run for the Colts, and a Mike Nugent field goal. Going into halftime, the Bengals led the Colts 10–7. Cincinnati dominated the third quarter on both fronts, with another Benson touchdown run and Nugent field goal, quickly running the lead up to 20–7 heading into the fourth quarter. There Colts were able to strike on a Adam Vinatieri 46 yard field goal narrowing the score to 20–10. A Dallas Clark touchdown reception from Curtis Painter allowed the Colts to cut the game to a 20–17 affair with 9:33 remaining in the fourth quarter. After a missed Nugent field goal, with the Colts driving, Pierre Garçon fumbled the football, giving it to Carlos Dunlap who would take the ball in for a touchdown, and ended the score, with the Bengals winning the game 27–17, giving the Colts an 0–6 record on the season.