Dec 9 2013, 1:06am CST | by Poch de la Rosa
This was confirmed by Kevin Bowen of the Colts' official website on Dec. 9:
"With the Titans falling to the Broncos 51-28 on Sunday afternoon, the Colts have won the AFC South and a playoff berth for the 2013 season.
"The No. 1 line on Chuck Pagano's preseason goal sheet has been achieved.
"The AFC South Championship is the first for the Colts since the 2010 season and the eighth overall since 2002.
"By capturing the South, the Colts have guaranteed themselves a top-four seed in the AFC playoffs and at least one home game in January.
According to ESPN's Mike Wells, news of the Broncos' victory which clinched the AFC South for the Colts was received when the team was 30 minutes outside of Indianapolis. This was when the team was on its way back from Cincinnati, where it lost to the Bengals, 42-28.
The Colts wanted to win the division on their own. However, "They left Paul Brown Stadium without easing any of the doubts about how the rest of the season could go for them," writes Wells, who also notes the loss to Cincinnati drops Indianapolis to the current fourth seed in the AFC.
One obvious area of concern is the defense, which has allowed an average of 31 points, 401 yards and a 44 percent third-down conversion rate, Wells adds.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com also notes Indianapolis had issues with its running game against Cincinnati. He also emphasizes,"(Colts quarterback) Andrew Luck's pass protection was terrible. This Colts' offense is often tough to watch."
However, in spite of the Colts having too many flaws and injuries, head coach Chuck Pagano has faith in the team's resiliency.
"We try to measure ourselves every week. We'll go back to work and we'll grind. We've got a resilient bunch, a touch-minded group. They don't ever quit. They're hurting right now, everybody is."
The Colts' loss dropped them to 8-5 after starting the 2013 NFL season 6-2, noticeably limping with the season-ending injuries of Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, Dwayne Allen and Reggie Wayne.
Nonetheless, congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts -- 2013 AFC South Champions.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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