INDIANAPOLIS – Yesterday at halftime, Chuck Pagano had but a few moments to address his team that trailed by two points on the way to a 34-28 win.
Pagano was not pleased with a rushing offense that gained 29 yards, or with a rushing defense that sputtered while Seattle hummed to 144 yards.
He milked promises from his players that they would stem the tide in the remaining time. They did in winning down the stretch by controlling the fourth quarter and holding Seattle on its last two possessions.
It was a day Pagano would not like to relive.
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Seattle had 10 plays that gained at least 17 yards, five each by the rush and pass. Six came in the first half when the Seahawks had 267-of-423 net yards while scoring 17 of its points.
“We don’t want to give up the big plays that we gave up, especially in that first half,” said Pagano. “It’s certainly not our goal to give up the rushing yards that we gave up, but we got things calmed down in the second half.”
One third-quarter possession that pleased him came after a turnover at the Colts’ 30 where the defense held firmly.
“There were some sudden-change situations that our defense was forced into and forced field goals. That’s always a positive,” said Pagano.
The Colts played their best ball down the stretch, limiting Seattle to 30 fourth-quarter yards after it had topped 100 in each prior quarter. Seattle had but one first down, while the Colts forced a punt and created a turnover.
“Our guys’ mindset is, ‘They’re not in ‘til they’re in,’ ” said Pagano. “They did a great job yesterday, specifically in the second half of holding them to three field goals. It was tough sledding. We feel very fortunate to be able to get out of there with a win.”
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Pagano says there is no team more qualified to win late than his own, and players says it is part of the team’s DNA to compete well late in games.
“That’s what we practice,” said Donald Brown. “We know winning in the NFL is not easy, and a lot of these games are going to come down to the last drive or so of a game. That’s what we prepare for. A team like the Seahawks, we knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle.”
ROSTER MOVE – LaVon Brazill’s roster exemption has been lifted and he rejoins the active roster after a four-game NFL suspension for a substance matter. Lawrence Guy has been waived. Brazill was the club’s sixth-round pick in 2012. He had 11 receptions for 186 yards and one touchdown.
INJURY UPDATE – Pagano said there is no update on Ahmad Bradshaw (neck). Stanley Havili (ankle), Ricky Jean Francois (groin), LaRon Landry (ankle) and LB-Bjoern Werner (foot) are improving and Francois may work Wednesday. The only injury Sunday was a hamstring to Pagano when he got excited and ran when Delano Howell was returning the blocked field goal, “Pulled a hammy on that one. I wasn’t going to say anything because I don’t want them (players) to know. Just a pretty exciting moment, I guess. My wife happened to catch it, too. She didn’t think I could move that fast. It was a great moment in that game. (I’ll) try to remain calm next time.”
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COLTS NOTES – The Colts now have tied an Indianapolis record by rushing for 100 or more yards in five games to start a season (also 1984, 1988)…Robert Mathis tops the NFL with 9.5 sacks…he is a half-sack away from his fifth 10-plus sack season (10.5, 2004; 11.5, 2005, 2008; 11.0, 2010), and the only time the Colts have had the NFL’s sack leader was Dwight Freeney (16.0) in 2004…with a 73-yard TD pass (Andrew Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton) and a 61-yard scoring return off a blocked field goal, the Colts had two TDs of 50-plus yards in the same game for first time since 12/30/12, and it was the 15th time in the club’s Indianapolis era it accomplished the feat…the franchise record is three in a game done on three occasions…the Colts allowed two 100-yard rushers Sunday (102, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson) for the eighth time in franchise history, the fourth in the Indianapolis era…it marked first victory ever when allowing two 100-yard rushers…Wilson joined Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor (112, week one) as opposing QB 100-yard rushers, the only two allowed in the franchise’s 61 years…the Colts own sole possession of first place for the first time under Chuck Pagano…Indianapolis has owned or shared the division lead four-of-five weeks this season and in 127-of-192 weeks of AFC South existence since 2002…the Colts are alone in first place in a division for the first time without Peyton Manning under center since being 5-1 in 1996…Said Luck of being alone at the top of the division, “It’ll feel good if it’s the last week of the season. For now, I guess it’s better than the alternatives.”