Head coach Chuck Pagano has this favorite phrase for his Indianapolis Colts: Stick to the process.
A day after the Colts annexed their second straight AFC South title, and ninth overall since the division's inception in 2002, that phrase is the name of Pagano's game plan heading into the final two games of the regular season.
Coming off a 17-10 win over Houston, Indianapolis heads to Dallas this week. The Colts will wrap up the regular season Dec. 28 at division rival Tennessee.
"We've just got to stay humble and stick to that process," Pagano said. "We've achieved our first goal. We talked about it. We got together. It's been 144 days since we got together in Anderson on July 23rd (for the start of training camp)," Pagano explained.
"It was a Wednesday. We talked that night about a lot of things. We talked about our goals and our No. 1 goal was to win the division. We've checked that box, so now it's time to keep working and keep getting better."
The Colts have posted four straight wins, knocking off Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland and the Texans.
Despite those victories, Indianapolis' performances have been largely uneven. The Colts will need to raise the level of play against the Cowboys.
"We've got a lot of things to clean up," Pagano said. "We've still got to address some turnovers, we've got to get that cleaned up, penalties. We're going to keep grinding. We punched our ticket to the dance, so to speak, so we've got to make good on it.
"Our vision is what our vision is. We're going to put the time in necessary to reach that ultimate goal. It's all about getting hot and going on a little bit of a run here. Again, we're never going to apologize for winning. They're W's, and they're on the left hand side of the column. Just got to keep grinding, keep working, try to get better."
With the division already locked up, will the Colts begin to rest players over the final two weeks of the regular season? Pagano doesn't think so.
"If wee see a window for anyone with nagging injuries, not just (wide receiver) Reggie (Wayne), if anyone needs time to mend, then we'll make that decision," the Indianapolis coach said.