Good teams find a way to win. Bad or struggling teams usually find a way to lose.
That’s as much of a reason — along with the play of quarterback Andrew Luck — as how the Indianapolis Colts staged their 10th fourth-quarter come-from-behind win over the past two seasons Sunday night in Houston.
The Colts rallied for a 27-24 AFC South win over the Texans, giving coach Chuck Pagano’s team a 6-2 record and a two-game hold on the division.
Indianapolis will now face the St. Louis Rams in a home game at Lucas Oil Stadium next Sunday.
“If I would have had a sharp object in my pocket, I might have used it. I didn’t, so again you just keep pressing. You just keep fighting. You stick to the process. We’ve been there before,” Pagano said about the Colts’ sluggish start against Houston.
“This team has no quit in it. Still felt like if we go out and play Colts football in the second half and execute and start doing [what they’re supposed to do]. Everybody just do their job, we can get out of there with a victory.”
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman said it best.
“Get the ball to [Colts quarterback Andrew Luck] and let him work his magic. If we give him the ball enough, he’s going to make things happen and you see what he did,” Freeman explained.
“He’s got some weapons over there [on offense], so we just have to do our part on defense, try to get off the field on third downs and not let [Houston’s offense] get driving.”
Pagano, though, knows that Indianapolis can’t afford to keep digging itself into an early hole during games and hope to climb out every time.
“Our guys know that regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the score, until the last tick is off the play clock, you’ve got a chance if you’ll just stick to the process,” he said. “But we’re going to look at this [game] tape and [the players] are going to be able to look at this tape and be able to see so many things that we can do so much better and try to make things a heck of lot easier on us moving forward in the second half of this season.
“We feel good where we’re sitting right now, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
• • •
• Luck again — The Colts’ second-year signal-caller recorded his second three-touchdown, zero-interception game of the year in the win over Houston. He had his first such game two weeks earlier against Denver. Luck did not have any games like that as a rookie last season.
The win over Houston was Luck’s 10th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime and his third this season. It’s the most by a quarterback in their first two years in the league dating back to the Super Bowl era.
• Houston, we have a problem — In three career games against the Texans, Luck has thrown for 648 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has a 2-1 career record vs. his hometown team.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has 14 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns in his three career games against Houston. He has touchdown receptions covering 70, 61, 58, 10 and 9 yards.
Finally, three of the Colts’ biggest comeback victories have occurred at Houston’s Reliant Stadium: 17 points in 2008/2009 and18 points Sunday night. Indianapolis trailed 21-3 before starting its comeback.
• Injury list — Wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey (head) left the Houston game in the second half and did not return. It was initially thought to be a concussion, but Heyward-Bey’s tests were negative. He will continue to be monitored this week.
Cornerbacks Greg Toler (groin) and Josh Gordy (groin), nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee) and outside linebacker Cam Johnson (knee) did not play against the Texans. Toler, Chapman and Johnson hope to be available for Sunday’s game with the Rams.
• Pagano well wishes — The Colts’ coach said Monday that he has texted Denver coach John Fox and Houston coach Gary Kubiak as they contend with medical issues.
Fox underwent surgery to replace an aortic valve Monday after complaining of being lightheaded Saturday while playing a round of golf in North Carolina. He is expected to miss a month before being able to return to the sidelines. Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was named as the team’s interim coach Monday.
Kubiak, meanwhile, collapsed Sunday night as he was walking off the field at halftime in Houston. The Texans’ coach remains in a Houston hospital as he undergoes a battery of tests.
Pagano experienced his own health issues a year ago when he battled a form of leukemia.
“I reached out to coach Fox when he had his episode, sent him a text and just let him know we were thinking about him and keeping him in our thoughts and prayers. Same thing with coach Kubiak. I’m not sure where he’s at, but we’ve reached out and let those guys know that they’re in our thoughts and prayers,” the Colts’ coach said.
“Hopefully, they get things taken care of and get their health back. We’re lucky, we’re playing a kids game. Our players are playing a kids game. But real life is real life and if you don’t have your health, you really have nothing. I feel very fortunate, obviously, to have behind me what I went through. The game’s the game, but when it comes to a guy’s health and the things those guys are dealing with now, it’s not easy. Die a thousand deaths out there. This game can be hard on you, as we know.”
Quarterback Andrew Luck leads 10th fourth-quarter rally in last two seasons
Good teams find a way to win. Bad or struggling teams usually find a way to lose.
Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
In fact, it seemed as if their confidence soared.
Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
Many doubt Cincy runner scored on goal-line play
Did he make it or didn’t he?
Was Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis stopped on fourth down short of the end zone or did he make to the end zone without being touched?
Heavy snow appears in forecast for Colts
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrew Luck doesn’t have a history of playing a lot of football in the snow or in snowy conditions. But if weather forecasts for this weekend remain on track, Sunday’s AFC battle between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals may be severely tested by the weather.
- More Colts Headlines
- Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years