INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano, coach of the hometown Colts, can lay claim to a distinction no other NFL coach can.
The Colts were the only team in the league to defeat each of the Super Bowl participants during the regular season. In fact, the Colts handed the Super Bowl champion Seahawks their only loss in their first 12 games – 34-28 in Week 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium, which is hosting the NFL Scouting Combine this week. In Week 7, the Colts defeated the Denver Broncos 39-33.
But during his stint at the podium Friday, Pagano admitted admiration for the way the Seahawks’ shut down the Broncos’ high-scoring offense – the highest-scoring offense in the 94-year history of the NFL – in Seattle’s 43-8 victory in the Super Bowl.
“No question,” Pagano said when asked if he’s like to field a comparable defense. “And I think we’re not the only ones right now that are thinking that way. I think everybody, since it’s the last game and you saw how they were able to dominate that game and play so well on defense, is feeling that way.”
Pagano also admitted that the Colts were not a balanced team when he arrived in 2012.
“We want to play great offense, defense and special teams,” he said. “Again, it will be a focal point, a point on emphasis. We had certain times during the season where we played very, very good defense – played smothering defense, much like Seattle played.”
Pagano then added, “We’ll certainly want to one day say, ‘We play defense like that on a consistent basis.’ ”
And the statistics support Pagano’s admiration, as the Seahawks ranked No. 1 in the league during the regular season in average points, yards and passing yards allowed, as well as interceptions and turnovers. And that proved to be only a warm-up, as they held the New Orleans Saints to 15 points and the San Francisco 49ers to 17 points in the postseason before the Seahawks’ defense actually matched the Broncos’ point total in the Super Bowl with a safety and linebacker
It was a lack of points that definitely made a point for Pagano.