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Chuck Pagano on Colts’ fourth down play call: “We had a great call on”

Indianapolis Colts v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Colts lost on Sunday to essentially end their season and hopes of the postseason, but they were in it until the very end. In fact, the game (and therefore the season) came down to a fourth down and one play that went nowhere, as Andrew Luck felt pressure on a screen pass to Robert Turbin and the pass fell incomplete.

We looked at the play earlier today, and you might as well read that because you’re not going to get many specifics about it from head coach Chuck Pagano - although you will get this much: he liked the play call.

“I liked it. I liked it,” Pagano said today. “You guys all think it was a screen and there is more to it.”

Well, Andrew Luck looked to his left for a second, right?

“If that is what you say,” Pagano responded. “Yeah, I guess he might have.”

So... if it wasn’t a screen, what was the call then?

“We had a great call on,” Pagano said. “Again, I am not going to go, just like the quarterback doesn’t want to go into the details of what we do. We still have a game to play so I am not going to give up, ‘Hey, this is what we saw, this is what we thought we would get.’ We got exactly what we got, this just didn’t work out over here so we went over here. We ran one of those earlier and it went for 18 [yards] and that was the first option though on that one. Jonotthan Harrison, the ball was thrown and it was a catch and a block, the guy gets knocked over here and Frankie [Frank Gore] stays on his feet and scores a touchdown. Unfortunately, we lost Jackie [Jack Mewhort] on the play. The football gods weren’t with us on that fourth-and-one so we dust ourselves off, clean ourselves up and we all came into work today roaring and rearing to go because we have another ball game to play.”

So all we got from Pagano was that he thought it was a great call (that’s debatable), it wasn’t a screen play (it wound up looking like one), Andrew Luck might have looked left (he did), they ran it early in the game for a touchdown (that’s true), and the football gods weren’t with them (that’s just a coach’s cliche). What actually happened? Well, that’s something Pagano didn’t want to talk about today.

Look, he doesn’t owe anyone a thorough explanation of the play. He doesn’t have to get out the tape and walk through the play with the media, because like he said, the Colts still have another game coming up. But when almost everyone thinks it was a bad playcall in such a crucial situation, to simply say that you liked the call and that it was great without even explaining on a surface level what the play was (because according to Pagano it wasn’t a screen, but he didn’t say what it was).

The bottom line is that it’s fine for a coach to stick by his call (or more accurately, his offensive coordinator’s call). That’s understandable, especially for a guy like Chuck Pagano who hardly ever has anything negative to say. But at the same time, the fans are sick of it. The play call has been openly questioned quite a bit in the past 24 hours, and the head coach who’s already much maligned with this fanbase simply saying he liked the “great” call without explaining why (other than that the football gods weren’t with them) probably isn’t going to go over well.