“They outcoached us,” Pagano said of the Steelers’ 51-34 win in quotes distributed by the Colts. “I didn’t do a very good job of getting this team ready.”
When asked about that comment later, the Colts coach said, “I just look at the product that we put out there today. We have to do a better job. We didn’t play well. You go out and you finally force them to a field goal. Then we jump offsides and give them a fresh set of downs that cost you a touchdown instead of three points. That’s on me. I have to do a better job in a lot of areas.”
His players were willing to accept just as much blame after the Steelers piled up 639 total yards offense and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger set Steelers franchise records with 522 yards passing and six touchdown throws.
“We came into this game with high expectations,” defensive end Cory Redding said. “At the end of the day, we have to go out and execute. They made more plays than we did. Ben threw the ball wherever he wanted. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times. We have to get back to work and put this game behind us and move on to (the) New York (Giants) on Monday night."
The Colts (5-3) visit the Giants next Monday.
Redding said of the Colts’ pass rush that was unable to sack Roethlisberger once, “We just didn’t get to him.”
Safety Mike Adams said defensive breakdowns couldn’t be blamed on just the pass rush. He said the secondary made its share of mistakes.
“To say it was the lack of pressure, that’s unfair,” Adams said. “It was definitely on all of us, defensive line, linebackers and secondary. We have to play better. And we can. We are capable of it. We’ve shown everybody what we can do, so the expectations are high. So to take a step back like this is tough.”
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck admitted the obvious, that the NFL can humble teams quickly.
“Yeah, absolutely, (but) I think the mind-set of the team is great. We realize that in football you have to prove yourself every week and there’s no resting on laurels. Once this one is done, who you are is your last game and this is our last game, so we realize we’re going to have to get back on the practice field. I think we have an extra day this week for a Monday night game, so we’ll get it going again.”
The Colts took a 3-0 lead then trailed the rest of the game. The Steelers were ahead 35-20 at halftime.
“Yeah, that was too much and give credit to them, they outplayed us today,” Luck said of falling behind early, as much as 21-3 early in the second quarter.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.