How big was the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-7 road win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday?
Considering the team’s injury issues, and coming off a tough home loss to Miami a week earlier, knocking off the defending NFC champions on the road was just what the coaching staff was looking for. Six Colts starters missed the game, four on offense and two on defense. Indianapolis played with a makeshift offensive line, with offensive guard Mike McGlynn moving to center replacing Samson Satele, offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach stepping in to start at McGlynn’s right offensive guard spot and rookie Hugh Thornton making his first NFL start at left offensive guard. Thornton took over for Donald Thomas, who is out for the remainder of the season.
Also, Kelvin Sheppard replaced Pat Angerer at inside linebacker and Delano Howell getting the call as the fill in for LaRon Landry.
“It is one of those games that you look back and say, maybe five, six years down the road, that was a signature win,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano admitted after the game. “Maybe one of those wins that propel you to do great things. “It was just a combination of everything. It was a great team win. Offense, defense, special teams and our coverage units did an outstanding job.”
Pagano’s high spirits didn’t change much a day after the game either.
“Huge win. Hard, tough fought battle. Before the game last Wednesday when they came in [to practice] we talked about preparation, we talked about execution and then we talked about sticking to the process,” the coach explained Monday. “I felt our guys did just that. There’s a lot of good things, obviously, on that [game] tape. You can look to a lot of different things. Running the ball, stopping the run. We gave up 115 yards rushing but 80 of it came on one drive. So once we got that thing calmed down, the defense was outstanding. Anytime you can hold team to seven points on the road, create two turnovers, three sacks. Pretty dominant performance by the defense.”