Saw this quote from Chuck Pagano's post-game press conference, and I thought it was worth highlighting:
"It is one of those games that you look back and say, maybe five, six years down the road, you say that was a signature win - maybe one of those wins that propel you to do great things."
We've talked a great deal about how Pagano needed a win like this in order to justify his value to the franchise, but that's not the only reason this victory was, indeed, significant. Pagano needed to prove his way of playing football could win. He needed a performance like the one in San Francisco to point to and say, See! This is Colts football under my watch.
The Colts had a similar big win last year at around this time, only it wasn't Pagano on the sidelines guiding the young Colts. It was interim head coach Bruce Arians, and they defeated the favored Green Bay Packers 30-27 just a few days after the team had learned that Pagano would take a leave of absence for cancer treatments.
The difference between that win and the 49ers game on Sunday is the level of dominance. Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne played "hero ball" (to steal a line from ESPN's Mike Wells) to win that Green Bay game. Against the 49ers, the entire Colts team stepped on their opponents' throats, twisted their heels, and broke San Fran's will in their own stadium!
I really cannot overstate just how mega this victory was. Crushing an opponent of this kind in their building is rare. Very rare.
The key now is sustaining the dominance. If the Colts can do this to SF, then why did they have such trouble at home against Oakland and Miami? Those two teams are clearly inferior to the 49ers. Yes, I know Miami is 3-0 right now, but if you're going to tell me the Dolphins are better than the 49ers, I'm not going to take you seriously. Nor will anyone else.
That's why the upcoming game on the road against the Jaguars is interesting. The Colts should walk in there and dismantle the Jaguars, a truly terrible football team that lacks an overall identity. If the Colts don't crush them, if they somehow lose the game, then Pagano's "signature win" loses much of its significance and the Colts are back to Square One.