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Chuck Pagano: “I’ve got to do a better job to help our team”

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts lost 22-17 on Sunday afternoon to the Houston Texans, likely ending their hopes of making the playoffs. It has been a miserable season, and a big reason for that is head coach Chuck Pagano.

But don’t worry, Colts fans: he knows he needs to do a better job.

“I’ve got to do a better job to help our team,” Pagano said today. “I could have put us in better position at the end of the half offensively, we could have made that a 50-yarder or run the football there. Just say, ‘let’s get five yards, let’s get whatever.’ I trust Vinny [Adam Vinatieri] with my life. He trusts himself. He’s going to make that nine out of nine times, ten out of ten times, and I could have done a better job there. That’s a six-point swing; that was big. It’s critical. So I’ve got to be better there. But as much as it stings, it’s ancient history now as far as the coaches and players go. We’ve looked at the tape and we’ve moved on, and now we need to get ourselves prepped and ready to go for the next ballgame.”

To his credit, Pagano is taking responsibility for some things, and unlike the usual “I’ve got to be better” he actually gave an example of how he should have done that, which is appreciated. That’s better than the usual standard response, and in this situation Pagano pointed to the scenario right before the end of the first half - which was definitely a huge swing.

The Colts got down to the Houston 37 yard line before then having three straight incomplete passes to bring out Adam Vinatieri for a 55-yard field goal try. Vinatieri missed it, and the Texans then turned it around and after a few plays got into field goal range, when Nick Novak made a 52-yard field goal. That was a six-point swing and a period of the game that wound up being huge. Pagano wishes he would have handled that scenario differently, mentioning perhaps running the football to get five yards or so to make it a more manageable field goal try. In hindsight that might have made things better, but I’m not sure that’s the area to point to as to where Pagano could have been better. The Colts were throwing on 3rd and 10 trying to get the first down trying to eventually score a touchdown, so it’s hard to fault them for that. Now, if you want to say the Colts should have run it on either first or second down that’s fine, but there’s a balance that must be found between ensuring Vinatieri had a more manageable field goal try and trying to score a touchdown. Obviously, the balance the Colts tried on Sunday didn’t work, and Pagano took responsibility for it.

One thing everyone can agree on, however, is this: Chuck Pagano certainly does need to be better, like he said.