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August 19, 2013

COLTS' NOTEBOOK: Colts' bounce-back win pleases Pagano

Indy coach saw plenty of positives against Giants

INDIANAPOLIS — Nobody was happy with the Indianapolis Colts’ 44-20 preseason opening loss to Buffalo two weeks ago.

Coaches, players and, most of all, team owner Jim Irsay, who apologized to the team’s fans in a tweet and said that he had talked to the Colts’ “commanders” about the lackluster performance.

Indianapolis, however, responded in a big way Sunday night with a 20-12 road preseason win over the New York Giants.

The Colts had perhaps their best week of practice since training camp started heading into the Giants’ game. That crispness and sharpness certainly carried over to their on-field play at Met Life Stadium.

“That’s exactly how we want to play. There were so many good things. A lot of players contributed and did some great things,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano reviewed Monday afternoon.

Pagano was particularly enthused by the play of the Colts’ defensive unit, which recorded six sacks, and did not allow a touchdown.

“We want to be a dominant defense. From day one, we talked about that and we’re going to do whatever we have to do to keep building, putting the pieces in place to be a dominant defense,” he voiced.

“We’ve showed signs through two games now where we can go out and do that. We’re going to keep working to eliminate the big plays, the chunk plays in the run and pass game.”

Last week’s training camp practices were spirited. The defensive unit showed that and more against the Giants.

“Those guys were flying around. They’re playing with enthusiasm. They’re feeding off each other’s energy. They’re making plays. Any time you can keep somebody out of the end zone, force field goals and play the way they played down there, we’re going to be a damn good defense,” Pagano praised.

“It’s exciting. The guys can feel it and they can start to see it. So from a confidence standpoint, that’s huge in anything. It’s confidence in your own ability and it’s confidence in the guy lined up next to you.”

Indianapolis’ offense, meanwhile, was productive in the New York game, particularly in the first half. Quarterback Andrew Luck throwing a couple of touchdown passes to wide receivers Reggie Wayne (a diving grab of a double batted ball that should have been intercepted) and T.Y. Hilton.

“Would have liked to have a few more yards on the ground offensively. We tried to balance that thing out. We talked about being more balanced, I think we were,” Pagano said. “Pleased with that. Pleased with the effort. Special teams, some good things happening there. We had some miscues. We’ll look at the tape and get those cleaned up.

“It was a good win and I’m really proud of the guys, the coaches did an unbelievable job getting these guys ready and the way these guys bounced back.”

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