The Colts entered the playoffs as the hottest team in the league. They exit with just another letdown, this time beaten not by a former MVP, but worse yet – his backup. There is no doubt that the Colts defense played well enough to win for most of the night, but in the end, they were letdown due to some big runs by Chargers backup RB DarrenSproles, as well as some huge overtime penalties that made this 23-17 loss a tough one to swallow.
“It’s disappointing, you know?” middle linebacker Freddy Keiaho said. “A lot of guys stepped up and played hard. I’m really proud of the defense. We just had a couple costly penalties and they were able to capitalize.” Three of those costly penalties came in OT, one, a pass interference call, gave the Colts a big first down, and other was afacemask penalty that gave them 15 yards on their march to the winning score.
“The pass interference was a questionable call. Me and him, we had been battling all day,” cornerback Tim Jennings said. “Some of ’em went my way and some of ’em didn’t. You’ve got to tap your hats off to those guys. They played well. When it came down to making plays, they did and we didn’t.”
The facemask call put the ball at the 20, and you could see the defense and the team was cooked from there as Sproles put the finishing touches on the somewhat surprising win. For the Colts and their uncertain future about coach Tony Dungy, it’s another offseason of “what ifs.” For a defense that had played pretty well the second half of the year and during the winning streak, it’s an offseason of shoulda, coulda, woulda.