INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday night’s “Pagano Show”, Chuck Pagano talked about the importance of the fourth quarter in deciding Sunday’s victory over the Seahawks.
The head coach rattled off the stats, knowing Seattle came into Sunday outscoring their opponents 44-7 in the final stanza.
Down 28-23 with 15 minutes remaining on Sunday, the Colts needed a score to re-take the lead and tried their best to channel some San Francisco game magic in controlling the football.
The Colts did exactly that eating up 12:11 of the fourth quarter clock after losing the time of possession by a combined 12:06 during the opening three quarters.
“We want to finish every ball game the way we finished (Sunday),” Pagano said earlier this week. “This team’s mindset obviously is in the right spot, particularly when we get in the fourth quarter, whether we’re up, whether we’re down, we’re going to finish.
“The coaches have done a great job and the guys have done a great job. They push each other in practice. We push them pretty hard in practice, try to make it as tough as we possibly can so the game actually seems maybe a little bit slowed down for them and a little bit easier.”
Against the Seahawks, the Colts put together a 14-play 86-yard touchdown drive to begin the last quarter.
This was the 15th drive of at least 10 plays for the Colts this season (leads the NFL) and their ninth drive that lasted over five minutes.
Wins over the 49ers and Seahawks have the Colts climbing in various “Power Rankings” but their head coach isn’t worried about players indulging themselves in too many headlines.
“I guess if you polled the coaches and the players you’d have to feel good about yourself winning. It doesn’t matter who it is. Beating quality opponents builds confidence,” Pagano said on Monday.
“I don’t think you’ll see any of these guys walk around with their chest buffed out like a robin, walking around the yard after a big rain storm, bunch of worms out there, all robin-ed up. We’re not going there. We’ll keep reminding them, it’s a short ride from the penthouse to the outhouse. Stay humble. Stay grounded. Stay steady. Just stick to the process one week at a time.”
Pagano knows that getting off to better starts is a focus moving forward but knowing that your team routinely makes plays in crunch times is reassuring.
It’s those plays late in the game that have the Colts garnering some national attention before three prime time games over the next month.
Keeping this team level-headed isn’t a worry of Pagano.
His players know that leading the AFC South after Week Five doesn’t translate to capturing the division at the end of the year.
“We don’t have to say much because of our veteran leadership. Those guys take care of it. They handle that locker room. I’m sure if anybody starts to whatever, those guys take care of it,” Pagano says.
“They understand that they’ve been around the block too many times and seen it happen too many times. You start reading your own press clippings and patting yourself on the back, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.”