Atlanta Falcons vs. Indianapolis Colts: Tale of the tape

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The coaches

Chuck Pagano landed his first head coach role in the NFL in 2012, joining the Colts the same year the team drafted quarterback Andrew Luck. Pagano arrived at a tough time for the team. The Peyton Manning era was over, and a season-ending injury in 2011 resulted in a 2-14 and the first overall pick. With Manning departing, the poor season was a blessing in disguise.

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Since Luck arrived, the team has finished 11-5 in three straight seasons, winning the AFC South in each year. With each division crown, they have advanced one step further in the playoffs. In 2012 they fell at the Wild Card round, 2013 the Divisional round and last term in the AFC Championship Game.

The beginning of this season brought high expectations, but so far the team has failed to live up to them. As is common in the NFL, much of the blame falls on the head coach, and Pagano has taken plenty of criticism. A questionable fake punt call against New England won’t be forgotten in a while.

But it’s worth noting Pagano is an accomplished coach. He spent time in Baltimore and was the defensive coordinator in 2011 which led to his offer as head coach in Indianapolis.

This should be an interesting battle between two coaches from defensive backgrounds. Dan Quinn is facing his first serious test as head coach with his team losing three of its last four. How they bounce back after the bye will be key.

Next: The quarterbacks