Indianapolis Colts Football

Colts Daily Headlines: November 1st Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 1, 2013 – 8:37 am

The Colts will wrap up Week Nine practice later this morning. Today’s news looks at the play of Robert Mathis in 2013 and the last time the Colts played without Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, November 1st.

Indianapolis Colts LB Robert Mathis Mathis: First in sacks, last in publicity

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Even with a career-high 11.5 sacks after seven games, Robert Mathis still ins’t garnering the national attention in 2013.

A midseason poll of NFL.com contributors listed Defensive Player of the Year possibilities: Houston’s J.J. Watt, the 2012 winner; Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson, Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and Buffalo’s Mario Williams.

Colts safety Antoine Bethea shrugged and dismissed the snub. He believes Mathis should join safety Bob Sanders (2007) as the only Colt named Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s got my vote,” Bethea said. “He’s a difference maker.”

Indianapolis Colts will play without Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison for the first time since Dec. 27, 1998

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chappell takes a look back over 15 years ago to the last time the Colts offense was without No. 87 or No. 88.

For the first time since Dec. 27, 1998, the Colts will take the field without either Reggie Wayne or Marvin Harrison in the lineup. That’s 251 games, including the playoffs, with either No. 87 or No. 88 — or both — on the field.

Wayne’s streak of 189 regular-season appearances, 207 including the postseason, will end Sunday due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered against Denver.

Harrison’s final season with the Colts was in 2008; appearing in 190 regular-season games during his 13-year career. The last time the Colts’ offense was without Wayne or Harrison was the final game of the ’98 season against Carolina. Harrison missed the final four games that season with a shoulder injury and Wayne was drafted in 2001.

Like the team as a whole, long-time assistant Clyde Christensen still is trying to come to grips with life without Wayne.

“I hear people asking Andrew (Luck) how it’s going to be without Reggie,” Christensen said with a smile. “Well, how about me? This is the first time I’ve been in the (meeting) room without Reggie.

“Believe me, it’s different. He was such a security blanket.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: October 31st Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 31, 2013 – 8:43 am

The Colts returned to the practice field on Wednesday in preparation for their third straight prime time game. Today’s news looks at the Colts trying to re-capture the AFC South and the task of facing the league’s top defense.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, October 31st.

Indianapolis Colts look to retake the AFC South from two-time defending champ Houston Texans

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

The message started with Chuck Pagano and extended throughout the Colts locker room.

“It’s huge,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said of the prime-time matchup on NBC’s “Football Night in America.” “First and foremost, our No. 1goal is to win the division. The road to winning the division goes through Houston.”

Not long ago, this couldn’t be said. The Colts, during a span of sustained success few franchises have enjoyed, cruised to division championships in most seasons. In the seven division-title seasons, Indianapolis averaged 12.4 victories and recorded an astounding 34-8 mark (.810 winning percentage) against division foes Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Twice, in 2005 and ’09, the Colts went unbeaten in the AFC South.

But the struggles of 2011, when quarterback Peyton Manning was injured, and the emergence of the Texans have prevented the Colts from winning a division title since 2010. The current team, comprised mostly of players who weren’t around for the days when the Colts dominated the South, has a renewed focus on winning the division because it’s something most players on the roster have not experienced.

“There’s a saying, ‘To be the champs, you have to beat the champs,’ ” said outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of just eight holdovers from the 2010 team. “So, in order to get it back, we have to go down there and handle our business. I’ve been a part of some championship teams. (This team) is focused and they want it.”

Colts’ next challenge is beating NFL’s top defense

By: Mike Marot, The Associated Press

Through the first seven games of the NFL season, the Colts have piled up a pretty impressive list of accomplishments.

They beat the defending NFC champs on the road. They are the only team with wins over two of the NFL’s three one-loss teams. They’ve already beaten the NFL’s top offense and, on Sunday, they’ve got another big challenge — facing Houston’s top-ranked defense .

“They’ve got game-wreckers all over the place. They’ve got a front seven that is as good as anybody in football. They’ve got probably the best defensive player in football in J.J. Watt,” coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday.

Pagano didn’t stop there, and with good reason. There are plenty of other guys on Houston’s defense who are capable of creating chaos, and the Colts know it.


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Colts Daily Headlines: October 29th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 29, 2013 – 8:31 am

The Colts bye week is now over with the team starting a nine-game stretch in Houston on Sunday night. Today’s news looks back on the first two month of the season and how the team’s offense has stayed true despite injuries.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Tuesday, October 29th.

It’s time for Darrius Heyward-Bey to step up

By: Mike Wells, AFC South Blog

Darrius Heyward-Bey didn’t flinch when asked if there is “pressure” in receiving some more reps with Reggie Wayne’s absence.

“No pressure,” Heyward-Bey said when asked Monday afternoon. “I was just talking to [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] about that. We all work hard and our craft, that’s what we expect to do week in and week out.”

All eyes will be on the receiver spot every time Luck steps back in the pocket and throws to Heyward-Bey, T.Y. Hilton or whoever manages to step up to be the No. 3 receiver – it’s anybody’s guess on that spot right now.

Miscues will likely be followed by, “Reggie could have made that catch,” or “Reggie would have known to get to the first-down marker.”

That’s what happens when you attempt to replace a future Hall of Famer. But Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 pick in the 2009 draft, has soaked in everything Wayne has taught him since the first time the two met after he signed with the Colts during the offseason.

“Things don’t always go how the coaches draw it up,” Heyward-Bey said. “Reggie has taught me that’s OK. I’m a very black and white type of guy. I’m not a gray area [guy], but that’s what football is, a gray area. Every day coming to work and putting in that grind, I thought I was putting in a good grind in Oakland, I worked my butt off, but he took it to another level. He doesn’t come out of any reps. Me and T.Y. have definitely taken that in.”

From the Colts locker room: WR Reggie Wayne is already rehabbing his injured knee

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chuck Pagano and the Colts players offered some updates on Reggie Wayne having surgery last Friday.

The No. 2 receiver in Colts history underwent surgery Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during the fourth quarter of the Oct. 20 win over the Denver Broncos. Dr. John Uribe, who also repaired the torn ACL in Edgerrin James’ left knee in 2001, performed Wayne’s surgery.

“Uneventful as they usually say … everything came out great,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s in good spirits, rehabbing three times a day, grinding it out as we would all expect.”

The initial phase of Wayne’s rehabilitation will take place in Florida until he’s allowed to travel.

“He’ll be back here eventually; as soon as they let him,” Pagano said.

Safety Antoine Bethea and linebacker Robert Mathis were among the first players to check out Wayne as he remained on the ground after suffering the injury. Along with placekicker Adam Vinatieri, they’re Wayne’s longest-tenured teammates.

“I’ve talked to him a couple of days,” Bethea said. “He’s doing well. Everybody knows what type of fighter he is. He’s going to bounce back.”

Added Mathis: “He’s upbeat, very positive, back on the trail.”

Recharged Colts ready for some football after bye

By: Mike Marot, The Associated Press

After a 5-2 record through the first two months of the season, the Colts returned to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center eager for the final stretch.

Players were focused, excited and eager to get back to work as they embark on a critical two-week stretch that could dictate their fate in the AFC South.

No, one week wasn’t enough to get everyone healthy, but it was long enough to give these players time to rest, recover and recharge before turning their competitive switch back on.

“You’ve got to, you’re a professional,” cornerback Darius Butler said. “Even on the off time, you’re still watching film, still rehabbing, still talking to some of the guys. You’ve always got to stay tuned in and you’re right back to it on Monday.”


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Pagano talks the Denver game living up to the “hype”, Wayne’s injury, Mathis’ safety and the home crowd

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 23, 2013 – 9:15 am

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday night.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the Colts 39-33 win over the Denver Broncos:

On the Colts/Broncos game living up to the hype:

“Yeah, no question about it. It’s one of those games that you are going to remember forever and forever. Of course our fans were lights out. They were tremendous and they were there for us the whole way. Our guys stepped up and they made plays when they had to make plays. We knew Denver was going to make plays and we knew Peyton was going to make plays but we made a couple more then they made. We got contributions from so many different players, all three phases. I can’t speak enough about our defense and the job that they did. Nobody has been able to do that to that bunch to this point. Really proud of the guys.”

On Reggie Wayne’s season ending injury:

“It breaks your heart because you know what a warrior he is, what a warrior he has been, what he’s meant to this organization, to this franchise, to this city. To see a guy go down, we hate to lose anybody, Bob, and we’ve lost our fair share as you know, I just go back and look at that IR list and you don’t want to see it keep growing. You can’t replace Reggie and what he means and what he’s done and what he does on game day and what he does Monday-Saturday. We talked at length about that. We said we’ll get through the surgery and we’ll get him back in here and he’s got to be here. His presence, he’ll be in meetings. He’ll be doing all the same stuff, the only difference will be he won’t be suiting up and playing until a year from now. I know the guy and I know how he’s wired, his mindset and I know everybody else does, he’ll be so determined to work his tail back because I know he’s not going out this way.”

On Erik Walden’s game against the Broncos:

“He showed up big time, just like he showed up in every ball game this year. We feel very, very fortunate to have landed Erik. He was huge (Sunday). He came up big, recovering the one that was darn near a touchdown and he got the safety off Robert’s sack. Getting great pressure on the quarterback, harassing him as much as he did, to get (Peyton Manning’s) arm just in time and that ball goes straight up in the air, and right when we needed it too. I think I was saying “Hail Mary’s” on the sideline and then you look up and that ball lands in Pat’s (Angerer) lap. He played a great ball game.”

On the home crowd Sunday night:

“They were unbelievable. Even though the roof was open, and the window, it was electric in there. It was loud. They showed up just like we knew they would. They’re Hoosiers. They’ve been behind the horseshoe the entire time and I knew it wouldn’t change on Sunday night. I can’t thank them enough and I know our players appreciate and love them. The 12th man is unbelievable.”

On Robert Mathis sack/safety and if it changed momentum:

“I think that was huge because I think after that for maybe the second or third quarter, any time you can get after the quarterback, I don’t care who you’re playing, you can sense that and that clock in their head starts to tick a little bit faster. There was a lot of game changing plays in that game but that was the biggest one.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: October 23rd Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:42 am

Week Eight means a bye week for the Colts as the news does not come close to rivaling that of last week. Today’s news look at Chuck Pagano giving the players the week off and the play of Vontae Davis.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, October 23rd.

Pagano rewards players with the week off

By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com

Before Chuck Pagano broke down the post locker room huddle Sunday night, he gave the players something they all wanted to hear—you have the week off.

“They earned it,” Pagano said. “What they’ve done to this point, they earned the extra time off. We got a great group, we got great leaders and I trust everyone will take care of themselves and do the right things and get away and have time to recharge, take care of their bodies, get healthy, be with family and reconnect with whoever they need to reconnect with.”

There were some players at the team’s facility on Monday, with most of them making the necessary arrangements to get out of town for the week. Receiver T.Y. Hilton said he was leaving “ASAP” to head down to Florida. Cornerback Vontae Davis plans to head to a tropical island.

Despite all the injuries they’ve dealt with — five players out for the season — the Colts are 5-2 and have a two-game lead over Tennessee in the AFC South.

Indianapolis will return to the practice field on Oct. 28 in preparation for its game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 3.

“Guys know if they don’t handle the privilege of having these days off, you’re not answering to coaches or the GM, you’re answering to Robert Mathis, you’re answering to Cory Redding,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “That’s scary. I think maybe we’re young in certain areas, but not an immature team. Guys know what’s at stake and I don’t see anybody using this in a bad way.”

Vontae Davis can laugh at himself after great game, minor mistake vs. Denver

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

Vontae Davis played one of the finest games a corner can play against Peyton Manning which is just another indication of the progress he has made since coming to Indianapolis.

There was a time when Davis was unsure where this whole Indianapolis experience would take him. Turns out, it took him to the top.

“It’s life. You have to make the best of your opportunities,” he said. “I feel like God blessed me with this opportunity to come here on a young team. I’m still young in my career. Now this is a chance to do some good things in Indy. I think the sky is the limit. I’m just scratching the surface.”

The best thing Davis has done is respond to coaching. He’s always seen himself as the traditional shutdown cornerback, the guy who can shadow top receivers step for step. But there’s another progression in the process of becoming great, as secondary coach Mike Gillhamer so often reminds him.

“Vontae sees himself that way (as a cover corner) but we try to get across that he’s got to be a complete corner,” Gillhamer said. “He’s got to do all the things. Since he’s gotten here, we’ve really worked on his technique. A lot of times, I think what’s happened in Vontae’s past is, when things go bad, you revert back to old habits. So, you need something you can go back to when things go bad. That’s what we’ve gotten across to him. And he’s responded really well.”


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Five Things Learned, Denver-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on October 21, 2013 – 10:34 am

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are 5-2 and have a two-game AFC South lead at their bye week.  The last two home wins – 34-28 over Seattle, 39-33 over Denver – were 60-minute slugfests that showed the spunk of this bunch.

Chuck Pagano lauded resiliency, passion, toughness, fortitude and, most of all, grit in the locker room following the victory over Denver.  The Colts still have not lost consecutive games under Pagano, going 7-0 and with a 7.1-point victory margin following losses.

It was a three-phase effort that is a blueprint of the program in Indianapolis.

Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

MR. TEAM – Andrew Luck may have thrown for three first-half touchdowns and raced in from 10 yards out for another in the second half, but all he would do was cite the full-team effort in beating Denver.  Luck always casts light on teammates and the program, never wishing any personal limelight.  His maturity has been on full display since his opening game, and Luck stayed grounded in the bluster of the return of Peyton Manning.  While some would call this a signature win over a team that had won 17 straight and with the finest Indianapolis Colt ever with Manning, Luck took delight in the team aspect of the win.

POSITIONAL PUNTING/KICKOFF EXCELLENCE – Pat McAfee had a 48.9 average on nine punts, with six landing inside the Denver 20.  The Broncos had one first down on those resulting drives and a team that had averaged only 3.2 non-scoring drives per game came away empty on 11-of-17 possessions.  More importantly, Indianapolis got 19 of its 39 points directly/indirectly as a result of those punts.  The first TD came after a fumble created on a return.  Another set up a strip-sack-safety that caused a nine-point swing to give Indianapolis a lead it would not lose.  The final one led to an interception and a clinching FG.  McAfee’s eight kickoffs all reached the end zone, four accounting for touchbacks.  Denver averaged a drive start at its 25, an 11-yard advantage for Indianapolis in that category over the course of the game.

RUNNING STILL EQUALS WINS – Of the Colts’ 71 offensive snaps, 31 were rushes.  Indianapolis upped its record to 10-0 under Pagano when attempting at least 30 rushes in a game – the league’s best record since 2012.  Luck had 29 yards, including an 11-yard first-down dash on third-and-11 in the second quarter.  That led to a touchdown, then he rolled in from 10 yards out himself in the second half.  Darrius Heyward-Bey gained 30 yards on a reverse.  The ground influence helped the Colts own the ball almost 32 minutes, 10 minutes more than in last week’s loss at San Diego.

LINEBACKER MAYHEM – Robert Mathis is Robert Mathis, a fifth multi-sack game this year to push his seasonal total to a league-best 11.5.  It is his fifth 10-plus sack season (plus ties his seasonal-bests from 2005 and 2008), and his second-quarter sack-strip-safety triggered a nine-point swing for a lead Indianapolis never relinquished.  Erik Walden was a free agent signee added to the corps to fight the run and harrow the quarterback.  Walden hit the right arm of Peyton Manning with 7:07 left, creating an interception for Pat Angerer at the Denver 24.  It led to a field goal and a nine-point lead after Manning cut a 36-17 deficit to six points with two scoring drives.  Walden then forced a fumble at the Colts’ two with 3:03 to go, staving off a sure score that could have swung the final advantage to Denver.  In a 35-possession game, there were plays made all over the field, but linebacker mayhem was a big reason Indianapolis emerged winners.

PAGANO VISION – It has been a season of successful replay challenges for Pagano and another one netted results against Denver when a punt return ruled out of bounds before a fumble was reversed, and it led to an Indianapolis TD.  Pagano’s eagle eyes keep paying dividends.  Also, stressing a plus-two turnover ratio per game, he got it for a fourth time in 2013.  The Colts have defeated Oakland, San Francisco, Jacksonville and Denver with that margin.  NFL home teams with plus margins were 20-2 heading into yesterday’s games.  The Colts are 2-0 in home games with a plus margin.


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Colts Daily Headlines: October 21st Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:03 am

The Colts head into their bye week at 5-2 after a 39-33 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night. Today’s news look at the Colts defensive effort against Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck’s four-touchdown night and Chuck Pagano giving Jim Irsay the game ball.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Monday, October 21st.  

Indianapolis Colts defense takes the stage from Peyton Manning, high-flying Broncos

By: Bob Kravitz, Indy Star

Kravitz’s column looks at the “other guys” who got things done in the Colts 39-33 victory over the undefeated Denver Broncos.

It had everything to do with the Colts defense, and especially Robert Mathis, who’s been waiting a decade to blind-side and strip-sack Manning. The bruised and battered Indy secondary was extraordinary most of the night – at least until they ran out of bodies — manning up against 18’s receivers, making them work for every yard until late in the second half.

It had everything to do with special teams, with Pat McAfee throttling Trindon Holliday and Stanley Havili stripping Holliday, leading to a touchdown. Think McAfee won’t happily pay a fine if one happens to come from the league office?

It had everything to do with Andrew Luck, who didn’t put up “Star Wars’’ numbers, but played more than well enough, finishing 21 of 38 for 228 yards and three passing touchdowns plus one running touchdown. Manning got his numbers – he always does – hitting 29 of 49 for 386 yards, three TD’s and one interception. But this night belonged to the Indy defense, which might sound bizarre on a night in which they allowed 33 points, but remains a point in fact.

Andrew Luck has a hand in four touchdowns in the Indianapolis Colts’ win

By: Michael Pointer, Indy Star

The “noise” and “circus” that surrounded the lead up to the Colts and Broncos never crept into Andrew Luck’s head.

Luck completed 21-of-38 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns ran for another and generally looked like an All-Pro for the first three quarters as the Colts rolled to a 39-33 victory over Manning and the Broncos before 67,196 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. The four total touchdowns matched a career high.

“I have never looked at it as the guy that replaced Peyton,” Luck told NBC after the game. “I just looked at it as a chance to play football for a great team. Guys in the locker room have made it easy. I don’t know how to answer that question.”

Owner Jim Irsay earned this game ball

By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com

Wells looks at a different angle from Sunday night’s game as Chuck Pagano delivered the game ball to Colts Owner Jim Irsay.

That’s why coach Chuck Pagano gave his owner an emotional postgame speech inside the locker room.

These Colts (5-2) aren’t the flashiest team, but they find a way to get it done. Game balls could have been given out to the entire offense, defense and special teams.

“We all knew what we were up against and the players were just hanging tough,” Pagano said. “This is the grittiest football team that I’ve ever been around my entire life.”

The Colts spent the week leading up to the game not listening to people say they weren’t good enough to hang with the high-scoring Broncos. Veteran receiver Reggie Wayne referred to last week as a circus because of the attention the game got.

“We were willing to work and prove everybody wrong,” Colts defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said. “I knew everybody in the media world was banking on Peyton Manning coming in here and putting on a show. I tip my hat to him, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But this team — all three aspects of it — was excellent. We fought for 60 minutes. We knew it wasn’t a game that would be won in a half.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: October 18th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 18, 2013 – 8:45 am

The Colts will conclude their practice schedule for Denver later this morning. Today’s news looks at Robert Mathis facing his former teammate and Pep Hamilton’s game plan this week.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, October 18th.  

Colts LB Robert Mathis finally gets to hit Peyton Manning

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

This time there will be no one in a Colts shirt that will reprimand Robert Mathis for hitting Peyton Manning on Sunday night.

Tempting as it might have been, Robert Mathis always knew the price for hitting Peyton Manning during any of the thousands of practice sessions in which they faced off was much too high.

“If you come within two yards of him, you might get cut,” Mathis joked Thursday. “That’s just the truth.”

The Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker has registered an astounding 101 sacks in an illustrious 11-season career. But he has never laid a finger on Manning, who is superior to any of the dozens of quarterbacks Mathis has taken down. Mathis finally gets the chance Sunday night when the Denver Broncos visit Lucas Oil Stadium in an AFC showdown pitting Manning against his former team.

Quarterbacks are considered off limits in practice in the NFL, and any player who makes contact with one will learn a difficult lesson. Coaches have been known to throw players out of practice for such a violation. That’s all the more true when that player is Manning, the personification of a franchise quarterback.

Just ask Mathis, who once nearly made what might have been a career-altering mistake.

“I came pretty close (to hitting Manning) my rookie year,” Mathis sheepishly admitted. “I got an earful from more than just the coaches. You learn from it.”

Colts’ Hamilton hoping to grind out long drives against Broncos

By: Tom James, The Terre Haute Tribune

Even though Pep Hamilton won’t be game planning against Peyton Manning this week, what he does from a play calling standpoint could dictate the impact for the 16-year veteran.

As for Hamilton’s gameplan, it’s relatively simple. Play keep away. Limit the number of opportunities that Denver’s offense is on the field. Don’t get into a play-for-play, point-for-point scenario. Control the tempo.

“It’s important for us to control the line of scrimmage and establish a running game. I feel like that’s the formula that works for us,” Hamilton said Thursday.

“We had a few games where we won the time-of-possession battle and as we all know in this room, we didn’t do that this past Monday night [in a 19-9 loss at San Diego]. We feel like it’s important that we control the line of scrimmage.”

But while the plan is pretty basic, executing it will be the tough part.

“Quite naturally, the game and the score of the game will dictate what we’re able to do offensively. So the flow of the game, it’ll kind of take care of itself,” the Colts’ assistant coach said. “It’s our goal as an offense to, at the end of the game, have at least one more point than the opponent and have a chance to win the game, of course.”


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Pagano talks win over Seattle, home crowd, and the contributions of Hilton/Mathis on weekly radio show

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 8, 2013 – 12:00 pm

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show on Monday night following the Colts 34-28 win over the Seahawks:

On how the Colts pulled it off on Sunday:

“We knew it was going to be a 15-round heavyweight fight so to speak. We made a huge emphasis, we knew this team was outscoring their opponents 44-7 in the fourth quarter and we were outscoring our opponents 24-7 in the fourth quarter and we knew if we got it late in the fourth quarter, we had to win that quarter. Once again our guys came through and I think we outscored them 11-0 in the fourth and held the ball for over 12 (12:11) minutes. That was really the difference in the ball game.”

On the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday:

“It was great the whole ball game but that last series for them, that place was deafening. Again, I can’t thank our fans enough. They made a huge difference. Again, we talked about the timeout situation and them not having any. I don’t know what you point a finger on but they play a hand in that. They didn’t have any timeouts because they had to burn them. Them not having any timeouts at the end of the game makes a huge difference.”

On T.Y.’s Hilton’s 73-yard touchdown late in the first quarter:

“We hadn’t really taken a shot so to speak down the field. They were obviously loading the box. I think we had just gotten a first down. I think it was our first first down. They got cover corners, a great free safety, all that sort of stuff but we tried to loosen them up a little bit because of them playing eight in the box. A great call by our offensive guys and Pep (Hamilton) and T.Y. ran a great route. I think Andrew got rid of the ball just in time. I think he took a little bit of a shot on the play and put it right on the money and then the run after the catch was unbelievable.”

On Robert Mathis becoming the 30th player in NFL history to reach the 100-sack plateau:

“Unbelievable. To reach that mark is a testament Robert’s work ethic, his character, his integrity. We said last night in the locker room, he’s a pro’s pro, a man’s man. If I had a son, I would want him to be just like Robert. He does all the right things and he’s just a great football player, but he’s a better person and I couldn’t be happier for Robert.”

On the Colts play during the 2nd half the past few weeks:

“I think it comes down to these guys prepare really well. These guys practice hard. We try to push each other. They push each other in practice so the game actually slows down for them. It’s a little bit easier. From a preparation standpoint, that’s huge. Our guys just stick to the process. They don’t get away from the things that help you win ball games, help you extend drives, help you get off the field on third downs. They seem to get stronger as the game goes longer.

On the Colts defense and how they are continuing to grow:

“I think these guys are just starting to scratch the surface to be honest with you. They’ve put the time in. They are going about their business the right way. They prepare. They work hard at practice. They are becoming more familiar with the defense, the terminology and are trusting of one another, playing together, doing their job and taking care of their business. They love playing. We have a bunch of guys out there that love playing football. They love getting after you. They have the right mindset. They play with the right physicality that you need to play with. They love winning and they love beating guys down. We have an aggressive group and hopefully we can keep going in the right direction.”


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Five Things Learned, Seattle-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on October 7, 2013 – 8:18 am

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INDIANAPOLIS – In Sunday’s 34-28 win over Seattle, Indianapolis snapped 60 offensive plays.  After only nine, the Colts were staring adversity squarely in the face.

Those opening plays gained nine yards and no first downs, and Pat McAfee’s third punt was blocked through the end zone.  Undefeated Seattle led, 12-0.

Antoine Bethea motioned teammates together on the sideline to deliver a message.  Indianapolis forced a three-and-out, then scored two quick touchdowns for a 14-12 lead.

After Seattle countered by taking a 25-17 advantage in the third quarter, the Colts scored 17 points and snuffed out two late drives to earn a comeback victory over a team that had won nine straight games.

The victory was the ninth comeback triumph in 21 outings under Chuck Pagano.  It placed the Colts alone atop the AFC South five games into the season.

Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

GRIT BEATS RABBITS – A heavyweight fight is not determined when one boxer pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  It happens when he reaches inside and finds the extra something that has put him in the ring.  The Colts have been relevant under Chuck Pagano, jumping nine games in the standings a year ago and now sitting among AFC leaders and on top of their division at 4-1.  Pagano had his players at halftime, down 19-17, say they would run and tackle better in the second half.  Eighty of 109 rushing yards followed, and the Colts defensively halved the Seahawks’ first-half ground total in the last 30 minutes.  Holding Seattle to three field goals (the second with a defensive stand in Indianapolis territory after a turnover) was key, as were two late stops.  The offense responded with 86- and 42-yard drives for 11 fourth-quarter points to earn the win.  A true prize fight has both boxers landing blows.  The one who summons the most wins.  Out-pointed in early rounds, the Colts rose again with play from three units.  “Nobody’s built better to win these close games, especially in the fourth quarter, than this team,” said Pagano.  “(It’s) character, resiliency, toughness, grit, never quit, belief, faith.  We’ve got something special.”

HILTON IS CENTRAL ELEMENT – Four plays after falling behind 12-0, T.Y. Hilton was in the end zone with a 73-yard grab (32 yards coming after the catch).  On third-and-22 from the seven six minutes before the half, Hilton was interfered with and the Colts had 39 penalty yards.  Hilton then had a 13-yard reception to convert another third down, leading to a half-ending field goal.  Hilton’s lone third-quarter reception was a 29-yard TD strike.  Early on the fourth-quarter 86-yard scoring drive, Andrew Luck targeted Hilton on third-and-10 from the 25.  Interference, 16 yards. On second-and-11 from the 40, Hilton had a 13-yard catch.  On third-and-eight from the Seattle 45, Luck found Hilton again for 12 more clutch yards.  That was the last time Hilton was targeted, and he had done an afternoon’s work.  On six targeted times, he had five receptions for 140 yards and two scores, his seventh 100-plus outing.  Two penalties added 55 more yards, coming on drives that accounted for 11 points.  Well done, #13.

FREEMAN FACTOR – Jerrell Freeman has been a disruptive presence all season.  Strip-sacks against Miami and San Francisco made him the first Colts linebacker since 2004 not named Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis to have quarterback takedowns in consecutive games.  The mobile Freeman tracked down Russell Wilson for no gain on third-and-two with seven minutes to go.  The Colts were clinging to a 31-28 lead that was in doubt.  Up 34-28, Freeman rushed Wilson into an interception with 1:23 left.  Game-set-match, or, according to Reggie Wayne, “Ding, ding,” the bout was over and the referee held up the Colts’ hand.  Either way, Freeman has had a telling hand in many plays.  This is not something truly learned, just something cited as contributing factors in a big-time win.

A FEW GOOD MEN – Pagano has his men believing that every one of them can make a difference.  Take bows Delano Howell and Lawrence Guy.  Howell has started twice in place of LaRon Landry.  He has made plays before, but his 61-yard return of a blocked field goal was a huge comeback impetus.  The person who triggered it was Guy, who was signed recently to add depth to a thin defensive line.  Howell had the eye candy with a great return (the third-longest in club history off a blocked field goal), but Guy provided the grit.  Neither player garners a great deal of spotlight, but both’s professionalism created a big play Sunday against a team that excels on specialty units and against a kicker whose first miss of the year resulted in points for the opponent.  While we’re at it, bow yourself Tom McMahon.

NO JUDGES – After two blowout wins by a 64-10 combined margin, the Colts were on the ropes down 12 and with a Seattle offense that had knifed for two scores and 92 yards on 13 snaps.  Seattle would land more haymakers and Indianapolis would have to rally from behind most of the day.  It did so on the one-year anniversary of the 30-27 comeback victory over Green Bay.  That day a year ago was one of the most compelling in the club’s Indianapolis era, with its head coach in a hospital battling leukemia.  Pagano was present Sunday to marshal another special victory.  Outsiders tend to tune out themes used by coaches.  Pagano’s players don’t.  They live the themes and play them out on Sundays.  It would have been easy to fold under pressure and deficits yesterday, but the Colts didn’t.  Fans now have first place team (with 11 challenges ahead), one that hangs together.


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