INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts' first-year coach came away from Sunday's game with Houston even more impressed by the resolve shown by his players this season and against the Texans.
"What they’ve done over the course of the first 12 ball games, to watch them today go out there and do what they did with nothing to gain. They didn’t have anything to gain today. [The media] reminded me of that on several occasions. But that’s not how this group rolls. That’s not their mind set," Pagano voiced.
"At the beginning of the year, we said we signed up for a 16-game season and to go out there and watch those guys play the way they played and you get veteran leadership from Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney, Cory Redding, [Antoine] Bethea, and Adam Vinatieri. I’m leaving out a bunch of guys. You can go on and on and on. They refused. They refused to let anybody write their story of what they could and could not do."
Quarterback Andrew Luck was one of several Indianapolis rookies who stepped up when it counted the most in the win over Houston. Luck completed 14-of-28 passes for 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns. More importantly, he did not turn the ball over with an interception or a fumble.
A potential fumble deep in Colts territory was overturned on the first play of the second quarter when game officials ruled incomplete pass instead. Luck had been sandwiched by Houston defensive end J.J. Watt and weak side linebacker Connor Barwin as he tried to make a play downfield, forcing the ball out. A potential Texans' recovery was averted and Indianapolis retained possession of the ball.
The Colts had taken a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime on a 1-yard pass from Luck to rookie tight end Coby Fleener and a 1-yard run by rookie running back Vick Ballard. Houston was limited to a pair of Shayne Graham field goals, hitting from 51 and 37 yards out.