News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 11, 2013

‘Can’t keep digging ourselves a hole’ — Pagano

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Chuck Pagano Is usually a pretty even-tempered guy.

He never gets too high or too down. It’s a great trait to have, especially if you area head coach in a sport.  

But in the wake of Sunday afternoon’s 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Indianapolis Colts coach was understandably upset. In fact, Pagano’s short and direct answers to media questions brought back memories of former Colts coach Jim Mora.

When asked about his team’s seeming inability to run- or pass-block early in the game, he was brutally honest.

“It’s never about competing. [The Colts] are going to compete their ass off until the bitter end. We know that. So it’s never an issue of that. Poor technique, poor fundamentals, communication. That leads to disaster,” Pagano stressed.

“That leads to 2-of-whatever [2-of-12] on third down. That leads to 1-of-5 in the red area, a minus-four turnover margin. You can go on and on.”

As for the Colts’ issues with slow starts, he knew the team was precariously close to losing a game at some point. In fact, the problem had been mentioned in the Colts locker room as recently as last week.

“I think one of our players mentioned it, that sooner or later it’s going to catch up. And it caught up [Sunday]. Not enough rabbits in the pocket. And, again, we were playing a good football team that came ready to play,” Pagano said.

“You do the things that we did to ourselves and catch [the Rams] executing and making plays the way they made plays. … [We] can’t keep digging ourselves a hole and hoping for another miracle, another comeback. Can’t play football what way.”

• Luck: blame me — Quarterback Andrew Luck threw three costly interceptions and also fumbled once.

“[St. Louis] did a great job up front. I know our guys fought their butts off all the way to the end. I’m sure we had our snafus here and there. I had my lion’s share of mistakes,” Luck said.

“Some of those sacks are my fault. Those errors are my fault as well. Very good front four. Good football team and they beat us. Not much else to really say about it. They beat us fair and square in every which way they probably could.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, he was replaced by backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. That’s a situation that Luck isn’t used to.

“I did want to stay in the game. I think any competitor is going to want to stay in the game. You understand [that] at the end of the day, Coach Pagano is making decisions and he’s thinking on a much more macro scope of things. [I] understand his decisions are final. It stinks not to be in there at the end of the game. But it’s his decision. Move on and start preparing for Tennessee.”

• Short week — Indianapolis will have practice today, Tuesday and Wednesday before heading south to face the Titans at LP  Field.

“You want to get back out there and get that taste out of your mouth. We’ll prepare. The short weeks are always interesting. I think I learned that last year,” Luck said.

“We need to get back on the field and right our wrongs. Absolve our sins, if you will.”

• Injury list — Offensive guard Mike McGlynn left the St. Louis game with a thumb injury and did not return. He is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test. Safety Larry Asante left with a hamstring injury and also did not return. Asante will also undergo an MRI.

Safety Delano Howell (head), cornerback Josh Gordy (groin), cornerback Greg  Toler (groin) and nose tackle Josh Chapman (knee) were pregame inactives along with rookie center Khaled Holmes, tight end Wesley Saunders and outside linebacker Cam Johnson.