Colts Defeat Chargers 26-22
The Indianapolis Colts beat the San Diego Chargers last night, essentially saving their season. If the Colts had fallen to 0-3 on the season, it would have virtually eliminated any chance at the playoffs for the team. Only 2 teams have started 0-3 and made the playoffs in the NFL’s new Playoff system. It was a game that saw a lot of back and forth, and it was the first time that the Colts have defeated the Chargers at home, since 2004.
The Colts defense played well, considering. The Chargers benefitted from an interception, and a returned fumble for a touchdown. Andrew Luck was guilty of both turnovers, however, the interception happened on a bad route ran by an inexperienced WR, and the fumble came on a play where Luck was mauled by 5 Chargers defenders. The biggest takeaway from the first half of the game, was that the Colts weren’t trailing by multiple TDs. Before Sunday, the Chargers were outscoring their opponents in the first half, 42-3.
The most annoying part, for Colts fans, was Chuck Pagano’s play calling. Pagano continues to call games, almost cowardly. There is being a conservative play-caller, and then there is being scared to take chances. With 55 seconds left in the first half, one of the best QBs in the NFL, and one of the most reliable kickers in the history of the NFL, Pagano decided to run the ball twice. RUN. THE. BALL. TWICE. Then, in the second half, after 3 straight penalties, the Colts found themselves at 2nd and 40. How did Pagano respond? Calling a run play right up the middle, twice again.
Chuck Pagano’s game-planning, and “conservative” play calling, have gotten to a ridiculous boiling point. Most coaches become revitalized after receiving a contract extension, especially when most of the fan base was ready for you to leave. Pagano doesn’t seem to be revitalized. He revamped almost all of his staff, the offensive line is much better than many of us could have imagined, the defense is slightly better than average, and he has a mostly healthy Andrew Luck, and yet somehow, he is worse than ever.
To be fair, I’ve never been a fan of Chuck Pagano. I personally feel that he has gotten a pass for a couple years now, due to his first season where he successfully battled leukemia. The whole city got behind him, and a lot of the fans felt a personal connection to him because of it. Sports aren’t personal, it’s business, and on a business level, he is a bad head coach. He is a coordinator. No shame in it. He came to Indianapolis as a “defensive-minded” coach, and yet the Colts defense is not better. His game-planning is so bad, that the Colts have become known for playing from behind. He’s just not good.
I really hate blaming coaching for things, because they ultimately aren’t the ones that are playing the game, but Pagano’s flaws have come to the forefront. You can’t continue to fall behind in every game of the season, and expect Andrew Luck to be a superhero, and save the game.
The Colts pulled it off on Sunday, against a team that has always seemed to have their number. Chuck owes a big thank you to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. They saved the game, and the season, at least for 1 week.