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Wild Card Notebook: Mathis Makes “Marquee” Play and Pagano Loves Colts Heart

Posted Jan 5, 2014

Intro: The Colts erased a 28-point third quarter deficit on Saturday. It should come as no surprise that Robert Mathis had a large hand in helping the Colts advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.



Looking Back on the 1st Colts/Chiefs Meeting- Earlier this week, Robert Mathis tweeted a link to an article about candidates for Defensive Player of the Year.

The article indicated that Mathis did not have enough sacks in “marquee games” to win the honor.

It was yet another chip on Mathis’ massive shoulders.

In case Mathis’ 6.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles against the likes of San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Kansas City during the regular season weren’t enough, No. 98 added another highlight on Saturday.

With 9:11 to go in the third quarter, the Chiefs were facing a second-and-six from the Indianapolis 46-yard line.

A Donald Brown touchdown had trimmed the Chiefs lead to 21 points and momentum was slowly beginning to churn towards the home sideline.

It was time for Mathis, who had been relatively quiet up to that point, to take the momentum to another level.

Mathis beat the block attempt of Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano and guard Jeff Allen and stayed alive in the play when Alex Smith rolled to his left.

Then came Mathis’ patented strip/sack.

“He’s a continuous turnover machine,” Jerrell Freeman said of Mathis. “He works, man. He’s amazing and we definitely needed that.”

The turnover resulted in seven Colts points and served as another indication of the game changing plays Mathis has made in his best NFL season.

Mathis has been apart some of the NFL’s most storied comebacks and thanks to his heroics, the Colts scripted another on Saturday.

“We just decided we didn’t want our season to end today,” Mathis said.

Pagano Points to Colts Heart —
Chuck Pagano couldn’t help but joke.

As Pagano began his opening statement to the media following the Colts epic 45-44 comeback victory on Saturday, the head coach offered some humor.

“21 wasn’t enough at half so we thought we’d give them another seven just to make it interesting,” Pagano joked.

Taking a look back on the comeback leads to a variety of statistical paths but a pair stick out from the first half to the second.

The Chiefs were 6-of-8 on third-down in the first half, which was 41 percentage points higher than their season average.

In the second half though, the Chiefs were just 3-of-8 on third-down as the Colts were finally able to force the first Kansas City punts of the game.

The Chiefs led the NFL in field position during the 2012 regular season but it was the way the Colts flipped it in the second half which paved the way for the comeback.

Kansas City had seven second-half drives and the only ones that started past the Chiefs 22-yard line were due to Andrew Luck interceptions.

“That was epic right there. I’ve never been a part of something like that,” Freeman said of the comeback.

“Most teams will come out the second half and just give up, never, we’re a 60-minute football team and we’re going to fight for 60 minutes and that’s definitely the message we tried to send today.”

Each week, numbers are crunched around the NFL to see why or how one teams beats the other.

But Chuck Pagano pointed to something that can’t be found in any box score as the reason for the Colts setting NFL history.

“One thing we talked about this week is you can measure a lot of things at the Combine and all those type of things, but you can’t measure what’s inside a man,” Pagano said.

“You can’t measure his heart. And these guys got more heart and grit than anybody I’ve ever been around, just the simple fact that they stuck to the process and never doubted.”


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