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Colts Find Success In Every Phase, Highlighted By Andrew Luck's 2016 Debut

Intro: On Saturday night in Indianapolis, the Colts showed their home fans flashes of what this team can look like in 2016. What were Chuck Pagano’s thoughts after the Ravens beat the Colts 19-18 on Saturday?


INDIANAPOLIS – The boss man wanted to see the offense produce in Saturday's first half, when the starters/regulars would get their action.

He wanted the trench play to be better and his $140 million quarterback to have time to operate in returning to game action.

All in all, those desires of Jim Irsay were achieved on Saturday night.

"I thought there were some really good things in this football game, in all three phases," Chuck Pagano said after his team fell, 19-18, to the Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium.

From the minutes after the final gun in Buffalo, Pagano stressed the need for better play in the trenches.

He got that on Saturday, especially from his starting unit.

Andrew Luck was not hit in a perfect night throwing the ball (8-for-8 for 71 yards) and had plenty of time to shuffle through his passing tree progressions.

The Colts had 35 rushing yards in Saturday's opening quarter, more than they had in four quarters against the Bills.

Defensively, Ravens' running backs averaged a tick over three yards per carry, on 25 attempts.

"I talked about running it and stopping the run and I think we are going to look at this tape and see some good things on both sides of the ball," Pagano said.

While Luck exited after two series of work (one drive that ended with a field goal and the other which ended on a red-zone fumble by tight end Dwayne Allen), the offense maintained its ability to move the football in the opening half.

The first four drives for the Colts all reached at least Baltimore's 30-yard line.

It was the inability to finish off those drives into points, which irked Pagano.

"We shot ourselves in the foot," Pagano said pointing to the Allen fumble and nine penalties. "The penalties, it is just unacceptable. That is on me, I have to get that fixed. (We) can't drive down the length of the field and be in the red area inside the 10-yard line and have a false start and another penalty and have to settle for a field goal and then drive down again and then turn the ball over inside the red area. That just can't happen.

"We gave ourselves a chance at the end to pull this one out again, but, it is just hard to overcome those self-inflicted negatives so we have to go to work in cleaning that up. You are just not going to overcome that in the National Football League. We've got to get it fixed."

One aspect from Saturday that needs little adjusting is who Pagano has at quarterback.

Luck's 2016 debut was reminiscent of why the Colts made their quarterback the highest paid player in the NFL earlier this offseason.

"For everybody it was great to see," Pagano said of Luck's return.

"Really, for him, being out that long and having the opportunity to get back out there and be with his teammates, and then to play well and have some success, is obviously a good thing."

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