With just over three minutes remaining in a home game tied up at 27, the Colts seemed to be in a good situation to pull out a win. Their quarterback, Andrew Luck, had caught fire earlier in the quarter after looking bad for much of the game and had led 11 game winning drives over his first two years in the league. All they needed was a field goal.
On first down, the Colts handed the ball of to Trent Richardson. That's not a terrible call. While running the ball on first down is often predictable for the Colts, this one was a fine call to make. Even more, it went for six yards. Then on second down, however, the Colts tried to run it again, losing a yard. All of the sudden, Luck was given just one chance to keep the drive alive, and the pass fell incomplete on third down. Sure, Luck could have completed that pass, but the decision to run the ball on the first two plays of that drive was inexcusable.
Thankfully, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano isn't making any excuses. "Really what I should have done was probably, the first down was good, I think we got six yards on first down," Pagano said Tuesday. "Then probably should have just had [Luck] throw it, but that's on me. I've got to do a better job with that."
Give a lot of credit to Pagano for admitting the mistake, and give him credit for taking the responsibility. He's not throwing his offensive coordinator (Pep Hamilton) under the bus but rather is saying that he needs to get better. He's acknowledging that as a head coach he's ultimately responsible. I respect that a lot from Pagano to admit the mistake and take responsibility.
Now what we need to see is for him to stop making those mistakes that he has to admit. I know things are going fast in the course of the game, but I don't think it's that hard of a concept to grasp to put the ball in your best player's hands with the game on the line. I absolutely criticized the play calling last night, and it was deserved. The call(s) was terrible. There's no way around that. But I'm being completely serious when I say that I respect Pagano for admitting the mistake and being accountable to it. That's what a true head coach does, and credit to Pagano.
Even still, though, he needs to cut down on those mistakes in the first place. Because while it's nice and all that he admits the mistake a day later, the Colts are still 0-2, and a huge reason for that were the mistakes he's now admitting.