What Did Chuck Pagano Learn About His Colts Against New England?

Intro: During his Monday press conference, Chuck Pagano touched on some of his takeaways from the 34-27 loss to the Patriots. Why does Pagano feel his team proved they can play with anyone in the NFL?

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INDIANAPOLIS – Monday's are typically days of learning for NFL coaches.

Tape from the previous day's 60-minute contest is dissected from every angle.

Players slowly begin to trickle back into the team complex where coaches address the positives and negatives from what occurred the day before.

On this Monday, what Chuck Pagano learned from his Colts team is something he couldn't say after past meetings with the New England Patriots.

Yes, this one still ended in a loss.

However, when looking at the big picture, the positives from Sunday were greater than they have ever been before, when facing New England.

"I know, and I believe, that this team can play with anybody," Pagano said on more than one occasion during his Monday press conference.

It's a belief that comes after his Colts held a one-point halftime lead on Sunday.

When Pagano looked at the box score from Sunday he saw a Colts team that finished the game with more first downs, total yards, and a higher percentage of third-down and red-zone efficiency.

Outside of the fake punt call that Pagano knows had an impact in how the game flowed the rest of the way, the head coach pointed to the "SINS" (self-inflicted negatives) his team committed as the biggest difference in Sunday's outcome.

The Colts had 11 penalties for 103 yards on Sunday night, continuing a not so fortunate trend that has plagued them throughout 2015.

Indianapolis has 49 committed penalties on the year, which is the third highest amount in the NFL. The Colts 15 holding penalties are the most in the league.

A handful of Colts penalties in the last 25 minutes of the loss to New England held the offense from achieving anywhere near the same success they had in the first half.

"It's one of those things where you look back and we were rolling a lot," Anthony Catsonzo said of the start on Sunday. "But we can't just shoot ourselves in the foot.

"When the momentum is ours, we have to keep it. We can't give it away. Coach talks about the ebbs and flows of the game. You have to kind of ride the wave and keep it flowing more than ebbing."

One of the flows from Sunday night saw the Colts stray away from a successful running game, following the fake punt in the third quarter.

Frank Gore, who finished Sunday with 78 rushing yards on 13 rushes, had his last carry of the game at the 2:42 mark of the third quarter.

Three plays later the Colts tried the fake punt. A 13-point deficit would follow and from there, Andrew Luck threw 24 passes in 27 plays the rest of the way (the other three plays were two Luck scrambles and a sack).

"We could have stayed maybe with the run game a little bit longer," Pagano said on Monday. "But there was a point where I told Pep (Hamilton), 'We've got to go up-tempo and we got to get this thing down the field in a hurry.'

"Probably could have ran it a few times there, but that's on me."

On Monday, the questions Pagano received weren't big picture inquires about what the Colts need to do in trying to close the gap New England had created.

The gap has shrunk and now it's up to the Colts to tie down the remaining loose ends.

"We can play with anybody, and we have played with the league's best over the years," Pagano said.

"(Sunday) night was no different."

A great way to put a name with a face!

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