You might be wondering what the big deal is about a two-point win after allowing 27 unanswered points and then trailing by 13 points in the fourth quarter, only to improve to 1-2 on the season. The Colts still have a losing record on the season and still have a lot of issues, so is a comeback win like this really that big? The answer is yes, it is.
Entering the fourth quarter trailing 27-14 (with the Titans having scored 27 unanswered and with the Colts having scored four offensive touchdowns in nine quarters up to that point), the Colts were staring 0-3 in the face. You've heard the numbers: that, since 1990, only three teams have started a season 0-3 and still made the playoffs, with none of them making the Super Bowl. 0-3 might have been the season for the Colts. Maybe they would have been able to claw their way back in a dismal AFC South division, but it was going to be an incredibly daunting task. It's not a stretch to think that this win might have saved the Colts' season.
But it might have saved more than that, too. You've heard the reports about the tension between head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson, and you've heard that it's entirely possible that Pagano won't be back as the Colts' head coach next year. His team falling to 0-3 might have sealed his fate. I still don't think the Colts would have fired Pagano on Monday, but I think 0-3 would have made it nearly impossible for the Colts or Pagano to save his job. It's not a stretch to think that this win might have saved Pagano's job.
"I can't tell you how damn proud [of] every man and every coach in this room," an emotional Pagano said in a post-game locker room speech. "GRIT always wins. Because I guarantee you, when the [expletive] hit the fan in that third quarter, the only ones that believed were in this room right now. Because you believe, and you got grit, and you got resiliance, and you got fight, you dig your way out of something that nobody thought you could dig yourselves out of.
"And I'm telling you, this is bigger than a football game," he continued. "This is about life, and learning lessons about life. You could do anything that you want to do. ANYTHING. You have faith and you have family and you have belief in one another. And you have grit. You have intestinal fortitude. You've got resolve. You've got it, kid [pointing at a player]. Every one of you got it. Big time. That's as big a win as I've ever been a part of in my life. I'll cherish that one for the rest of my life, I guarantee you that. Why we do this is for moments just like this. Moments just like this."
As big of a win as Pagano has been a part of? Really? Well, considering the circumstances and the stakes, that's not just some crazy statement. Seeing how emotional Pagano was in that speech says it all: he knew what was on the line. And the Colts, somehow, someway, pulled it out.
They're not out of the woods yet. A home loss to the Jaguars to fall to 1-3 would be equally as devastating. But the Colts have some fight left in them, which is good to see. And the Colts avoided the dreaded 0-3 start but instead showed signs of life in that fourth quarter. Hopefully, that gets them going and carries over to the next game.