INDIANAPOLIS – There is one thing you might be able to take out of Chuck Pagano’s first meeting with the media during the week leading up to the Colts’ game with the Rams.
The team feels lucky they’re coming into that contest with a win.
After 40 minutes of football, they were down by 18 points on the road in a relatively hostile environment at Reliant Stadium to a Texans team that suddenly seemed revived even with their coach having to go to the hospital after a collapse at the beginning of halftime.
Yet the Colts still found a way to win-as they have often in the Pagano era-with a blistering fourth quarter comeback. Three Andrew Luck touchdown passes to T.Y. Hilton and a stout defense gave the Colts their sixth win of the season compared to two losses-and a sense of humility.
“We were fortunate to get out of there with a victory,” said a straight-forward Pagano on Monday-and he knows work needs to be done to keep the drama a little lighter in the fourth quarter.
For one, the Colts need to find a way to start games on a better note. Houston blitzed the Colts on offense and defense in grabbing a 21-3 halftime lead-one that included two defensive breakdowns that led to a pair of Andre Johnson touchdowns, a blocked field goal, and near blocked punt while Luck dealt with torrents of pressure from the Texans’ defense.
Bad starts like this have happened before (See the Miami, Jacksonville, Seattle and Chargers games) but often the Colts have found a way to still get the victory. Yet Pagano knows the team can’t get away from it forever.
“It’s the big pink elephant in the middle of the room,” said Pagano of the starts. The win does cure, you can walk around it and avoid it but we don’t do that. They’ll come back in here Wednesday morning and a lot of guys are already in here. They’ll be in here tomorrow. They’ll watch that tape. We’ll point out everything in all three phases. Individually, as position groups and go back to work and get the mistakes corrected, get the communication cleaned up, get the technique cleaned up.
“You can’t drop snaps. We know that. You can’t have punts blocked, so to speak. Even though we don’t feel like from a TV copy they got a piece of that ball. Can’t give up sacks, big plays. You name it, we did it. We’ll take a look at it.”
Luck agreed following the game, understanding that the trend set in his ten career fourth quarter comeback wins probably can’t continue forever.
“They were beating our butts. We were getting our tail kicked every which way possible, so a lot of credit to our guys for sticking it through and going,” said Luck. “It will be a lot to learn from the film and we know we’ll have to see them again and it’ll be a tough one when that happens, but there will be a lot to learn.”
At least they can do so with a smile on their face.