The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

April 30, 2013

George Bremer: Colts’ home finale holds keys to future

Of all the memorable drives during the Indianapolis Colts’ remarkable 2012 season, the final march of the last home game likely will be the best indicator of the future.

A smile still brushes head coach Chuck Pagano’s face when he speaks about it during news conferences, even though it ended with Andrew Luck kneeling three consecutive times behind the line of scrimmage instead of making a highlight-reel touchdown pass.

The Colts took possession against the Houston Texans with 9 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and never let the visitors touch the ball again.

Luck completed just one pass — for 6 yards to Reggie Wayne on third-and-2 from Houston’s 20 — and 11 of the previous 12 plays were runs. Indianapolis marched from its own 20-yard line to the Texans’ 14, then Luck knelt to preserve a 28-16 victory that cost Houston homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs.

It’s not the play calling that portends the future. So don’t worry about new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton overwhelming the game plan with a power-running game.

And it’s not even the 66 yards the Colts moved the football with little contribution from Luck and Wayne — who had been the heart and soul of the offense all year.

No, it was the mindset and character of the team.

Indianapolis simply imposed its will on Houston, showing the smashmouth mentality Pagano promised to instill on the mid-January day on which he was announced as the replacement for former head coach Jim Caldwell.

Nearly every move the team has made since its 24-9 loss in Baltimore in the AFC Wild Card round one week later has been designed to reinforce that take-no-prisoners approach.

Four new offensive lineman have been added — tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas in free agency, guard Hugh Thornton and center Khaled Holmes in the draft. Three defensive linemen have been imported — free agents Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean Francois and fifth-round draft pick Montori Hughes. And the team also has beefed up with run-stuffing safety LaRon Landry and outside linebacker Erik Walden.

Even the first pick of the draft — Florida State’s Bjoern Werner at No. 24 overall — is a pass-rushing menace brought in to help the Colts control the line of scrimmage.

“Our team got way better (through free agency and the draft), and we know what the expectations are coming down the pipe,” Pagano said at Saturday’s postdraft news conference. “It’s exactly where we want to be. The expectations are where we want them.”

Those expectations involve the images of the Lombardi Trophy strategically placed all around the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

Pagano’s vision for the Colts came to fruition for the final 9:46 last year at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But that was just a start.

He and general manager Ryan Grigson won’t rest until Luck is kneeling to run out the clock on the first Sunday in February.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: Hunter-Reay's blunder proves costly A lack of patience cost Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe a chance at victory last weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0416 - tennis file - 14 Many girls tennis teams return top talent With spring sports getting off to a good start thanks to some spring-like weather last week, local girls tennis teams are taking to the court.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wild week will get later start The busiest week on Madison County's high school sports calendar is going to start a day later than expected.

    April 14, 2014

  • Familiar trio leads boys track teams Much like in years past, Anderson, Lapel and Pendleton Heights have assembled the largest number of track athletes of the area’s 11 high schools. And, while the remaining teams may struggle to compete from a team standpoint, they will send capable athletes to the line to challenge in individual events.

    April 14, 2014

  • New roles, same goals for Arabians

    Perhaps the most remarkable fact about the first 13 years of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament is that no team has repeated as champion.

    April 14, 2014

  • Track stars prepare for numbers game

    Track is a numbers game, not just with times and distances, but with roster sizes as well. Smaller schools often abandon the philosophy of competing for team titles when running against larger schools with nearly double the number of athletes. Instea

    April 14, 2014

  • SPT - HB0413 - Horseshoe Classic - 163 Arabians finish third in Horseshoe Classic It wasn't the place they wanted to be playing for, but the Pendleton Heights Arabians won their final game of the day to finish third in the Horseshoe Classic here Saturday.

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • PH wins Yorktown invite Pendleton Heights and Alexandria opened the 2014 golf season as part of the 15-team field at the Yorktown Invitational. Despite the abundance of blue skies and sunshine, the weather may have been more of a challenge than the 18 holes at The Players Club.

    April 12, 2014

  • New faces dominate Tribe's roster At some point in the very near future — likely Monday — Anderson baseball coach Terry Turner will sit down with his players and explain the significance of the week ahead. He'll tell them who Nick Muller was and why he worked so very hard 14 years ago to help create a tournament that carries the former Indian's name.

    April 12, 2014

  • Area roundup: Daleville baseball takes two from Union City Daleville's bats were heated during its doubleheader against Union City on Saturday as the Broncos won the first game 24-0 and the second 13-0 in five innings each.

    April 12, 2014