"I'm very anxious to get back," he said. "But it's like I told the guys, you've just got to make the plays and they're more than capable of making plays. We've just got to get back to playing Colts football."
Indy came into the season touting its new desire to rely more on the ground game this season, a strategy shift that has produced mixed results.
But the Colts' first-half struggles have increasingly forced them away from that strategy. In a come-from-behind win at Houston and an embarrassing loss at home to St. Louis, Indy ran just 28 times for 87 yards. Last Thursday, at Tennessee, they again trailed early. This time, they stuck with the run, grinding out 137 yards and got the winning score on an 11-yard TD run from Donald Brown.
While many have critiqued the slow-starting offense for its inability to stay on the field in the first two quarters of the last three games, the defense that has created some of its own problems by failing to get off the field.
The result: Indy has been outscored 66-9 in the first half since the start of November.
"There's some things we can pinpoint in the last three ball games in the first half that you can put your finger on and say if we get these things corrected," Pagano said. "I told the guys, if you total up just third down, if you look at third down offense and third down defense and you look at us last three ball games, we've converted 13 percent of the time and our opponents have converted 62 percent. So that's something right there that we can focus on both sides on the ball and try to fix."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org