Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano made a questionable timeout late in the game on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, leading to a game-winning field goal by Detroit’s Matt Prater. On Monday, Pagano sounded off on his decision for the timeout.
The Indianapolis Colts lost narrowly to the Detroit Lions this past Sunday by a score of 39-35 — in what would’ve been 37-35 had the Colts not failed on a lateral play in the end zone in the final seconds, resulting in a safety.
Perhaps the most confusing part of the game came when Pagano called a timeout on the Colts’ final possession of the game. Quarterback Andrew Luck would eventually find Jack Doyle in the end zone a few plays later, but the Colts ultimately left too much time on the clock.
Matthew Stafford picked apart the Colts’ decimated defense on the next drive, going 50 yards in just 25 seconds — setting up Matt Prater for a 43-yard game-winning field goal.
Shortly after the game, questions arose as to whether or not Pagano’s timeout ultimately cost the Colts the opportunity to open up the season with a victory.
Pagano gave his reasoning for the timeout, per Mike Wells of ESPN.com.
"“I wouldn’t do anything different,” Pagano said Monday. “We weren’t guaranteed a touchdown. We were not in the end zone. First and foremost to give ourselves a chance, we had to score a touchdown. We were down six points. In order to give ourselves an opportunity to send Adam (Vinatieri) out there to kick the winning PAT, we had to score a touchdown. We weren’t guaranteed that.”“Again, the most important thing to me and our football team was having the best play available,” Pagano said. “We’re not always guaranteed that in a hurry-up type situation. We also had an opportunity still to get a first down. I’d hate to milk all the time off the clock. We don’t hit Jack, we had to dump it off to (Phillip) Dorsett and he catches it on the 1-yard line or Andrew has to scramble around and doesn’t get in … We have a first down. I’d like to have plenty enough time with first-and-goal from the 2 (yard line) to run four plays if we needed four plays.”"
Pagano’s reasoning does make sense after all, but it still makes you wonder why he would opt to give Stafford a shot to march down the field given how bad the Colts’ performed all game.
The late timeout still isn’t a good look given how bad the coaching staff looked throughout the course of the game. Over and over again would the Colts try to establish a run game that proved to be ineffective against the Lions’ defense. It wasn’t until the Colts were down 21-3 that the coaching staff decided to let Luck pass the ball more.
If the Colts wish to have success next week against the Denver Broncos and beyond, then the coaching just needs to make better decisions, period.
The Indianapolis Colts travel to Denver to take on the Broncos this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
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