INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 13, 2015) – A defiant Chuck Pagano faced a critical media Sunday afternoon at Jacksonville’s Everbank Field, undeterred even though his Indianapolis Colts became the first group in club history to absorb 35-point losses in consecutive games.
Embarrassed? Seven days after being shelled 45-10 at Pittsburgh, the Colts were overwhelmed 51-16 by the Jaguars. The last time they allowed at least 45 points in back-to-back games was the final two games of the 1953 season.
“No. No. Never,’’ Pagano insisted.
Did the Colts display some “give up’’ as the game got out of hand? Jacksonville set a franchise regular-season record with the 51 points, and rattled off touchdowns on each of its five second-half possessions. The 42 second-half points were the most ever allowed in a half by the Colts.
“I don’t understand where you’re going,’’ Pagano replied when a reporter seemed to question his team’s character. “You don’t know this group.’’
Prior to that pointed criticism, he acknowledged the Colts must brace themselves for tough times.
“We’re all going to come under fire, all that stuff,’’ Pagano said. “Blinders on, ear muffs on. We can’t do anything about that. We made this bed.
“It starts with me, OK, and everybody else. We’re in this thing together. This team will stick together, I know that. We’ll go back to work. That’s where this team is at.’’
The latest blowout loss, he added, is “going to sting and it’s going to sting for a long time. There’s going to be a lot written and a lot said. Nobody can listen to that, nobody in that locker room. All you can do is go back to work and keep fighting, and that’s what we’ll do.’’
Pagano was asked why he was confident the Colts can turn things around and earn a fourth consecutive playoff spot. Even with the loss, they would do precisely that by winning their final three games against Houston, Miami and Tennessee.
“What makes you think they won’t?’’ Pagano asked. “You tell me. I’m asking you. What makes you think they won’t?
“They’ll stick together, trust me. We have what we have. Believe it or not, you still control your own destiny.’’
Pagano said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck aggravated a rib injury he sustained at Pittsburgh that forced him from the game in the fourth quarter. Hasselbeck was getting treatment and did not address the media after the game.
“Took couple of good shots there,’’ Pagano said of Hasselbeck. “Still basically the ribs that he’s dealing with. We’ll know a lot more obviously tomorrow.’’
There’s still no time frame for the return of Andrew Luck, who missed his fourth straight game with kidney and abdominal injuries.
“As soon as the doctors tell us he’s healthy and 100 percent and ready to go, you guys will know exactly when I know,’’ Pagano said.