5:52 PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS — The
Following their first losing season since 2011, the Colts face several offseason questions, led by the status of their QB and head coach.
Sunday, Jacoby Brissett threw for one touchdown and Marlon Mack ran for another in the Colts’ win. Pagano had tears in his eyes as he left the field, and he talked about what those final minutes on the field meant to him.
“We do this for those five minutes,” Pagano said. “We got to enjoy those five minutes. The blood, the sweat, the tears, all the sacrifices that you make . . . it’s really, really hard to win a game in the NFL, a game.
“That’s why we do it, why you keep coming back, why you compete, prepare, fight, and scratch and claw and keep digging — for those five minutes. And those five minutes we just had was the best five minutes of my life.”
Pagano led the Colts to the playoffs, including reaching the AFC Championship game in 2014, in each of his first three seasons as coach. The Colts went undefeated in the AFC South in 2013 and 2014. The future appeared to be bright for the Colts and Pagano because they had Luck leading the way for the franchise.
But things started to change in 2015 for the Colts. That was the start of back-to-back 8-8 seasons and missing the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1997-98. Luck played only seven games in 2015 because of a shoulder injury and a lacerated kidney. He continued to battle the shoulder injury for most of the 2016 season.
Despite the mediocre record, Pagano survived the 2016 season and Irsay decided to fire general manager Ryan Grigson and retain Pagano. Irsay said at the time that Pagano, who is under contract through the 2019 season, would be the coach for the 2017 season.
First-year general manager Chris Ballard expected some tough times for the Colts, especially with Luck (shoulder) out, and that’s how it played out with Indianapolis finishing among the worst teams in the NFL.
Pagano arrived in Indianapolis in 2012 in a season of transition. It was the first year the Colts were without longtime franchise quarterback Peyton Manning.
Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia that season and he missed Weeks 5 through 16. The team, with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians coaching in the interim, rallied. Pagano returned with his cancer in remission for the last week of the regular season. The Colts finished 11-5 and lost to the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the wild card round.
Pagano had arrived with a defensive reputation after being defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. But the defensive results never showed up for the Colts under Pagano. Indianapolis finished 20th or worse in total defense in five of Pagano’s six seasons, including 31st in 2017.
Pagano’s inability to beat AFC contenders Pittsburgh and New England also hurt him. The Colts were a combined 0-8 against those two teams under Pagano. They lost by an average of 24.3 points to the Steelers and by an average of 24.6 points to the Patriots.
Pagano had a 53-43 regular-season record as coach of the Colts.
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Via:: NDTV – Sports