Colts eliminated, but Pagano stresses effort


With the 3-9 Indianapolis Colts officially knocked out of
contention for a postseason berth after their 30-10 loss at
Jacksonville, head coach Chuck Pagano is looking to the immediate

That includes this week’s road trip to Buffalo and next week’s
Thursday night home game with Denver.

For those who think that the Colts don’t have a lot to play for in
the final four weeks of the season, Pagano would beg to differ.

“You keep going. You keep playing. That’s what you do, because you
love ball,” the Indianapolis coach said Monday.

Despite the rough couple of games that his young quarterback,
Jacoby Brissett, has gone through the last two weeks — losses to
Tennessee and the Jaguars — Pagano remains positive.

“He’s battling, like everyone else. Giving everything he has,” the
coach said. “Nobody likes where we’re at. Only thing that matters
is winning and losing.”

Brissett has been roughed up this season, both physically and
mentally. But he appears to be holding up OK. The constant pressure
from opposing defenses, however, has caused issues with consistency.

“Jacoby is tough. It’s possible all the hits he’s taken this year
have begun to take a toll,” Pagano said.

Injuries in the secondary have sidelined both starters. Veteran
Rashaan Melvin (hand) might be back in time for the Denver game
next Thursday.

The Colts will have to depend on three rookies — Quincy Wilson,
Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore — for now as they prepare to face
the Bills. They struggled in the loss to Jacksonville Sunday.

“They’ve got to go play. (They are) in this league for a reason,”
the Colts coach said. “Growing pains. Tough deal. But (they) will
get through it.”

–For the 17th time under head coach Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis
lost by at least 17 points. It’s the fourth time that it has
occurred this year (Rams, Seahawks, Jaguars twice).

–With his 61 yards rushing Sunday at Jacksonville, running back
Frank Gore has moved up to fifth all-time in career rushing yards.
Gore now has 13,697 yards. He passed both Jerome Bettis and
LaDainian Tomlinson and is behind Curtis Martin’s 14,101 yards, who
is in fourth place.

NOTES: CB Pierre Desir (shoulder) suffered a torn muscle and will
be placed on IR. He incurred the season-ending injury against
Jacksonville Sunday. … CB Rashaan Melvin (hand) remains listed as
week-to-week. Melvin was hurt against Tennessee on Nov. 26. It
looks as if he will miss the Buffalo game. … C Ryan Kelly
(concussion) may be given the green light to return for limited
practice on Wednesday. He remains in the league protocol process.
… TE Darrell Daniels (hamstring) is listed as week-to-week. He
has missed the last two games and is not expected to be cleared for
Sunday’s game at Buffalo. … DT Hassan Ridgeway (shoulder) is
still week-to-week with his recovery process. Ridgeway has missed
the last two games and is not expected to play at Buffalo. …
Rookie T Andreas Knappe (6-foot-8, 315) has been signed to the
Colts practice squad. Knappe has spent time with Washington and
Atlanta. … WR K.J. Brent and C Anthony Fabiano have both been
elevated to the active roster from the practice squad. … RB Matt
Jones was waived and G Kyle Kalis was waived-injured. Kalis was
subsequently picked up on waivers by Washington.


–PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus — QB Jacoby Brissett struggled,
completing 21 of 36 passes for 174 yards. He was intercepted twice
and sacked four times. His passer rating was a dismal 56.9. WR T.Y.
Hilton was limited to just three catches for 51 yards, with 40 of
those yards coming on a touchdown. TE Jack Doyle had three catches
for 16 yards. Donte Moncrief and Carlos Rogers topped the receiving
corps with five and four receptions, respectively, for 37 and 35

–RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus — RB Frank Gore had a game-high 61 yards
in 13 carries, including one breakout run of 15 yards. Rookie RB
Marlon Mack added 46 yards in six attempts. He had a long run of 25
yards. Brissett helped the cause with 36 yards in six carries and
had a 12-yard run. As a team, Indianapolis had 141 yards on the
ground and averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

–PASS DEFENSE: D — The Colts played with some young cornerbacks
as Rashaan Melvin sat out with a hand injury and Pierre Desir left
early after injuring his shoulder. Rookies Quincy Wilson, Nate
Hairston and Kenny Moore all saw playing time. They had a problem
slowing down the Jaguars’ passing game as QB Blake Bortles
completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Bortles, who was sacked once, had a 119.8 passer rating. WR Marqise
Lee had seven catches for 86 yards and a TD. WR Dede Westbrook
added six receptions for 78 yards. Rookie WR Keelan Cole had the
other TD catch for Jacksonville.

–RUSH DEFENSE: B — Indianapolis’ run defense continues to show
improvement over the last month. The Jaguars were limited to 96
total yards on the ground. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette had 57 yards
on 20 carries. Bortles chipped in with 27 yards in three scramble
situations. RB Chris Ivory only had 12 yards in four carries. ILBs
Antonio Morrison and Jon Bostic each had six tackles for the Colts.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus — K Adam Vinatieri made his only
field-goal attempt of the game, hitting from 27 yards out in the
second quarter. Rookie P Rigoberto Sanchez averaged 41.8 yards net
on four punts and averaged 46.8 yards overall. He did not have a
punt downed inside the Jaguars’ 20-yard line but had a long punt of
56 yards. Sanchez added one touchback on three kickoffs.
Indianapolis did allow a 31-yard kickoff return to Jacksonville
returner Corey Grant. RB Josh Ferguson averaged 17.3 yards on three
kickoff returns for the Colts.

–COACHING: D — With Indianapolis now mathematically eliminated
from postseason contention, what’s left for head coach Chuck Pagano
and his coaching staff is to try to finish the year on a strong
note. It all starts with this week’s game at Buffalo. The Colts
will return home for a Thursday night home game with Denver on Dec.
14 before traveling to Baltimore on Dec. 23. Indianapolis will
close out the season with a New Year’s Eve home game with Houston.
What happens the day after the Texans game is anybody’s guess. But
things don’t look good for Pagano and his staff.

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