Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Colts have edge on Chiefs as tension builds

Colts coach Chuck Pagano wants his team to keep the same routines as the regular season and not succumb to playoff pressure against the Chiefs.

Getty Images

Colts coach Chuck Pagano wants his team to keep the same routines as the regular season and not succumb to playoff pressure against the Chiefs.

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts coach Chuck Pagano has kept it loose all week.

He has been cracking jokes, encouraging laughter and trying to put football in perspective. He does not want today's playoff game to change the routine, so he is imploring the Colts to make this business as usual, even with the Chiefs coming to town for an AFC wild-card game.

"It's no time to pressure up. It's no time to get outside of anything you've done at this point," Pagano said. "You come in, you meet, you have a walkthrough, you practice well and then you play well. Don't do anything different. Just understand what's at stake. It is one-and-done."

Pagano has seen what happens when teams play tight. So have Colts fans, more times than they care to count. Last year against Baltimore, Indy managed only three field goals in a 24-9 loss as a bunch of Colts made their postseason debuts.

"There can be a little more focus during the week. There can be some more distractions. That's where you really need to sort of hunker down," quarterback Andrew Luck said. "As far as playing the game and practice, we've gotten to this point doing some things well."

Now, it's the Chiefs' turn.

Coach Andy Reid and new general manager John Dorsey followed the same plan Pagano and Ryan Grigson used to rebuild the Colts: new coach, new GM, new quarterback, new roster. Kansas City, like the Colts, went from 2-14 to 11-5 and back to the playoffs with nearly two dozen first- or second-year guys.

A few of the playoff veterans now find themselves explaining to teammates what to expect.

"I know my first time, I acted like a rookie. I was excited and fumbled the ball twice," AFC rushing champ Jamaal Charles said. "Now I'm going in my second time … I really want this, I really want to go far, and if I have to put the team on my back, I will."

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy usually told players something else: Most playoff games are lost rather than won, and the teams that fare best stick to the plan. Translation: Trying to do too much will only get you and your teammates in trouble.

The trick is finding the right balance when the stakes are high.

"Nine years, three postseason appearances. You're very fortunate when you get here," Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "My message to the young guys is you have to take advantage of this. You never know when you'll get back. It's not the time to play uptight. It's the time to go all-out."

Colts have edge on Chiefs as tension builds 01/03/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 3, 2014 9:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested on a DUI charge Monday in Jupiter, according to the Palm Beach County sheriff's office.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  2. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  3. Rays morning after: A lot that went into a marathon win

    Blogs

    Rays manager Kevin Cash had a simple strategy when Fox Sports Sun's Alex Corddry asked him how the team would move on from Sunday's marathon win and get ready to face the Rangers tonight in Texas:

    Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays celebrates as teammate Michael Martinez slides safely into home plate to score a run against the Minnesota Twins during the 14th inning.
  4. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  5. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.