Pagano thinks twice about leaving Luck in late vs. Giants

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano took quarterback Andrew Luck out of games in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville and Tennessee earlier this season because the outcome had already been determined.

Pagano seemed to second-guess his decision to leave Luck in the game in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants on Monday.

The Colts led by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter before the Giants started to chip away.

“Probably should have got him out and got Matt [Hasselbeck] in there,” Pagano said. “No lead is safe anymore in this league. It’s bam, bam, bam. [The Giants] are two scores from tying it.”

Owner Jim Irsay reminded Pagano of the Colts coming from 21 points down in the final four minutes to beat Tampa Bay in overtime in 2003.

“You get a little bit nervous and the clock seems to slow down when you’re sitting there,” Pagano said. “You get scared.”

If leaving Luck in the game so late wasn’t dangerous enough, you can only imagine what he was thinking as his franchise player suddenly became the lead blocker when Daniel Herron reversed field on a running play.

“We don’t want him being the lead blocker,” Pagano said. “He doesn’t need to be our fullback.”

Pagano continued talking about Luck’s competitiveness.

“We’ve been asking him to slide for three years now, too,” the coach said. “It’s the kid in him. It’s the Pop Warner in him. It’s just playing football and that’s instincts taking over. Yeah, you can’t do that stuff.”