Colts' games are typically close calls

Four of their five victories have been by a field goal or less.

If anything, the Indianapolis Colts sure do keep it close.

Kicker Adam Vinatieri has three game-winning field goals this season. Four of the Colts’ five wins have been by a field goal or less.

The Colts (5-5) have won their five games by an average of 3.6 points, the league’s lowest margin of victory for any team with as many wins. 

Since losing the first two games of the season by double digits, head coach Chuck Pagano’s team has played eight consecutive one-possession games. But his teams typically win these games. In his four seasons, the Colts are 23-7 (.774) in one-possession games, the best such record in the NFL.

“That’s what we’re used to,” Pagano said with a smile. “Never a doubt. Never a doubt. I don’t think anybody would be able to handle a double-digit win, jump out on somebody and be able to deal with it. (Laughs.) They’d shut down the building probably, something is wrong over at West 56th (street).”

In the previous three years, the Colts actually enjoyed 16 double-digit victories, including the playoffs. So this season has been different. The largest victory was 27-20 at Houston.

Another familiar trend has been falling behind. The Colts have trailed in every game but two. At Atlanta Sunday, they were down by 14 points twice before rallying to a 24-21 win. It’s the seventh time the Colts have trailed by double digits this season.

In Pagano’s four seasons, his teams have trailed by at least a touchdown at halftime 24 times, which ties with Jacksonville for second-most in the league, one behind Oakland. The Colts have rallied to win nine of those games, two more than any other team.

“We’ve played well in every football game, but we’ve dug some holes that we couldn’t get out of obviously, but now if we can just consistently put it all together and eliminate the self-inflicted negatives, we got a chance to continue to get better and hopefully stack some wins together and give ourselves a chance to hopefully maybe get in the tournament.”

The Colts are three-point home favorites Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is 3-0 filling in for the injured Andrew Luck. The Colts have won those three games by a combined 13 points. They trailed twice.

Hasselbeck said the team subscribes to the theory of never judging the scoreboard and players must give it everything they’ve got for 60 minutes.

“You’re never out of it,” the 17th-year pro said.

As for the propensity of close calls, Hasselbeck shrugs.

“You need to do whatever you can to find a way to get a win,” he said. “I’ve also been in games where we played great and didn’t win, so I’d take what we did Sunday over that every time.”

Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.

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