- Mike Wells, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- For so long, the Indianapolis Colts would elect to receive the ball when they won the toss because they had Peyton Manning at quarterback. Manning often led the Colts on opening-scoring drives, putting pressure on the opponent to counter the score.
Those days are numbered as long as Chuck Pagano is the coach.
Pagano, a defensive-minded coach, prefers to defer so that his defense is on the field first and the Colts get the ball at the start of the second half.
“I’m a defensive coach, defensive mindset, can’t help it,” Pagano said. “I know what our offense can do, I know what the quarterback can do, but we like to defer. We like sending our defense out there.”
The Colts won the toss and deferred to Oakland on Sunday.
The defense allowed quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the rest of Oakland’s offense to get down to the Colts’ 32 –yard line before cornerback Greg Toler picked off Pryor’s pass in the end zone. Luck marched the Colts down the field and scored on a touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne.
When asked if he runs the decision to defer by offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Pagano smirked and brought out some laughs in the media group because he knows he gets the final say on things.