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MMQB: On AFC Title Game, Pagano, ‘We Got our *Butts* Kicked’


According to MMQB’s Peter King, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had no excuses regarding the team’s embarrassing AFC Championship game loss to the New England Patriots, especially none involving deflated footballs:

"“We got our asses kicked,” Pagano told King late afternoon after Sunday’s training camp practice. “Period. End of story. None of us here will ever forget that day, that final score. We got a damn artery gushing and no sutures to stop the bleeding. You never forget that.”"

Of course, this is nothing new for the Colts, who have never really used DeflateGate as a crutch for their blowout season-ending loss in Foxborough last year. Rather, the team is simply looking to move on in anticipation of this upcoming season.

One way the team is looking to improve is to cut down on its turnovers, starting with its superstar quarterback Andrew Luck, who already knows he has to get better in this facet of the game:

"“The decision-making process bit me in the butt, which in turn hurt the Colts more than a couple times last year,” Luck told King Sunday. “Obviously the Patriots games, and Philadelphia, second week of the season, I throw a bad pick in somewhat of a four-minute situation. I gotta learn, Just eat it, take the sack, throw it at his feet, whatever. That’s what this off-season’s been about.”"

Something that his head coach Pagano readily agrees upon, but also understands his quarterback, like any great competitor, is simply looking to make a play:

"“Some bonehead plays,” said Pagano. “But all great competitors do everything they can to make great plays. The hardest thing for a great competitor is to give up on a play and throw it away. But you gotta know when to say when, when to throw it away, and Andrew’s learning that now. What I like about him is he’s got great amnesia. He’ll throw one [interception], then next series, be back out there, fine.”"

It’s worth noting that Luck has thrown for 7 interceptions in the team’s last three matchups against the New England Patriots. Not to mention, in his playoff career, Luck has thrown for just 9 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 6 career playoff games.  As a result, it’s definitely an area of his game that he has to clean up in the team’s most meaningful games.

Of course, to beat New England, the Colts will have to shore up their run defense first and foremost. The team has surrendered a whopping 657 rushing yards on 130 carries (5.05 avg. ypc) and 13 touchdowns in their last 3 games against the New England Patriots. All of which have subsequently resulted in blowouts.

The latest resulting ‘butt-kicking’ that Pagano and his team apparently haven’t forgotten and will be looking toward improving on come this season.

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano walks off the field after losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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