Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was asked Sunday to explain what is it that allows his team to continue its amazing runs of fourth-quarter comebacks.
Pagano took a couple of seconds to ponder the question before responding.
“Character. Resiliency. Toughness. Grit. Never quit. Belief. Faith. I don’t know what else I can say, other than these guys, we got something special,” he explained.
“All these guys know and understand as a team, top to bottom, that if you don’t move away from the process and you just stick to preparing, execute the best that you can and don’t judge, you just keep playing, good things will happen.”
The Colts coach has several pet phrases. “Stick to the process” is perhaps at the top of the list. But he continues to see his team execute the best when the situation is the stiffest.
“It’s the same thing when you look in these guys’ eyes. Nobody flinches around here. No players. No coaches. They just stick to the motto, the process of one play at a time. All you got. 60 minutes. Don’t judge,” Pagano said.
“You [media] are going to get tired of me saying it, but that’s the mindset. That’s the foundation we built this thing on. These guys just truly believe that, no matter what, if they just stick to that, they’re going to win a lot of football games.”
n Going to the Hilton — As good as quarterback Andrew Luck was in Sunday’s 34-28 win over Seattle, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton was simply amazing.
Facing off against one of the best defensive secondaries in the National Football League and one of the league’s premier one-on-one cornerbacks in Richard Sherman, Hilton caught five passes for a career- high 140 yards and two touchdowns.
He averaged a whopping 28 yards per reception.
“We know how explosive T.Y. is, and it was just a matter of us getting him the football and putting him in position to make those kind of plays,” Pagano said.
“He’s an electrifying guy and he’s hard to cover. He’s a touchdown-maker, he’s a game-wrecker. Just a fabulous game.”
Luck knows who to get the football to, who has the hot hand. On Sunday, it was second-year receiver from Florida International.
“When T.Y. is running fast, not many guys can catch him. In those situations, give him a ball that he doesn’t have to slow down for and see what happens. When he gets the ball in his hands, good things happen,” Luck said.
The play that caught everybody’s attention was a 73-yard touchdown scamper down the right sidelines. Hilton caught the ball and tiptoed his way downfield before breaking completely free into the end zone.
He came within inches of stepping out of bounds but managed to stay on the field.
“Yeah, I knew where I was, and [the Seattle defender] was kind of overpursing. So I gave him a little step-back move and went to the house,” Hilton said.
The receiver now has four scoring plays of 70 yards or more during his NFL career (three touchdown catches and one punt return).
n Century mark for Mathis — Outside linebacker Robert Mathis registered his 100th career sack late in the second quarter Sunday in typical style.
Mathis strip-sacked Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson right before halftime, forcing a fumble that was recovered by outside linebacker Erik Walden.
The 11-year veteran from Alabama A&M ended the game with two sacks, giving him 9.5 on the season and 101 for his career.
n Carroll not happy with officiating — Seattle head coach Pete Carroll had a few issues Sunday with the NFL’s officiating crew led by Ron Winter.
Carroll wasn’t pleased with a couple of pass-interference calls that went against the Seahawks’ secondary. He also wasn’t happy about the non-touchdown call when Seattle thought it had recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.
“Yeah, there’s a bunch of calls that you’re going to want to look at and wonder what happened here and what happened there. And that usually happens. But when you lose they’re magnified, unfortunately,” he said.
Carroll said that he thought the officials would overturn the call of a safety and award the Seahawks a touchdown.
“I thought just you could see that clearly. There was time to see it. [Jeron Johnson] is on it, he is laying down and the ball is secure. But [the officials] could not determine the ball was secure. So that is the way they saw it and is the way it goes,” he added.
Near the end of the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Darius Butler. Carroll thought that Indianapolis inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman had hit Wilson’s helmet as he threw the ball, which would have resulted in a penalty.
“I’d like to see what happens on that one, see if it gets a fine or not. We see plays like that all the time that go the other way. I hope [NFL officials] figure it out. I hope they did it right,” he said.