Football was the epitome of escapism on Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts. While they were marching up and down the field against the Green Bay Packers, the thought of their head coach sitting in a hospital bed not far from the stadium couldn’t be shaken from their minds. Chuck Pagano may not have been present at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday but he was all over the building and his team was all over the field.
A sign that read CHUCKSTRONG hung in the end zone and fans throughout the stadium had sign of encouragement in hand.
As for the game itself, the Colts tried their best to give fans and Pagano himself a few hours of sheer entertainment and boy did they ever live up to the task. After trailing 21-3 after the first half, the Colts stormed back behind the smart play of rookie Andrew Luck to eventually take the lead 22-21 late in the fourth quarter.
The Colts were aided by two major injuries to the Packers, one of which saw defensive beast B.J. Raji carted off the field with what appeared to be a lower leg injury. Without Raji’s monstrous presence on the line and his lack of pressure on Luck, the Colts were able to look very impressive as Green Bay gave Luck the one thing that makes him dangerous: time to think.
All the credit is going to go to Luck for the Colts emotionally charged performance, but the defense needs to get a lot of credit as well. Aaron Rodgers has seemingly been off this year but it’s alway an accomplishment to keep the best quarterback in the game under 200 yards passing. That’s what the Colts defense managed to do as they pressured and contained the Packers offense all day long.
After not getting a sack in the first half, the Colts slammed Rodgers to the turf five times in the second half, stifling the Green Bay offense.
But Luck was definitely the MVP for the Colts on Sunday as when the Colts got the ball back with over 3:00 left in the game and trailing 27-22, the rookie looked like he was channeling his inner Aaron Rodgers has he threaded incredible passes into intense Packers coverage to move the ball down field. Reggie Wayne was targeted heavily on the game winning drive, with Colby Fleener also looking impressive with incredible catches.
Jeff Saturday had to have been having flashbacks to a time when No. 18 was doing the exact same thing No. 12 did to the Packers today. Not only did Luck march the Colts down the field with under 3:00 left to go and score a touchdown, but he converted back-to-back two point conversions on scoring drives.
The Colts were playing inspired football on Sunday and that was never out of anyone’s mind. Chuck Pagano molded this team and was ripped away from it prematurely, but the guys he’s coached up for four weeks wanted to show their head coach that he has done an incredible job getting them ready for big games.
Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and company showed that and then some. The Colts are playing for more than just wins now, they’re playing for Chuck and who knows how far that’s going to take them. If they keep going like they were going today, this Colts team is going to be dangerous moving forward.