Colts punter Pat McAfee explained how it came to pass that Griff Whalen snapped the ball on the fateful fourth-and-3 Sunday night with the Patriots massed against him late in the third quarter.

And the explanation is ruinous for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and his coaching staff.

Whalen wasn’t looped in on a change the coaching staff made to the play during last Wednesday’s practice because Whalen wasn’t involved in the prep.

“The gunner who became the center all week was Clayton Geathers,” McAfee explained on his weekly radio show  . “Clayton Geathers gets injured in the second quarter.Insert Griff Whalen who had never done it before. So Griff Whalen is now the new center in a play he's never practiced before."
"Last week (in practice), Griff is at the other end catching my punts. We added something to try and draw them offsides if they don't do their substitution," said McAfee. "Griff never got the heads up this was happening, because it's not in the playbook. Stanford guy, reads the playbook, knows everything he has to do, but if he's not there for an audible that's added, he can't know."
“Griff has no idea we’re trying to draw the guy offsides because in the play it says if we get under center, snap it,” McAfee continued. “So Colt Anderson is trying to draw a guy offsides to pick up an easy five years. If not, we just don’t snap it. We take a delay of game.

“Griff goes, ‘If I feel him right now, I’m supposed to snap it. So this is a 100 percent miscommunication. It’s literally a miscommunication.”

McAfee’s explanation illuminates everything. Imagine what was racing through Whalen’s head when he felt Anderson’s hands on his posterior.

“Whoa. Under center I snap. But we’re surrounded. We’re dead. What’s he doing there? Well, I’m a 5-10, 185-pound undrafted kid from Stanford, so I better do what I’ve been taught and told. Here goes.”

Unless there’s another side to this story, this is even worse for Pagano. If the head coach was really the blame-absorbing sponge he’s tried to pass himself off as since the end of the game, he would have absolved Whalen Sunday night. This was on the coaching staff. But we spent Monday wondering how stupid Whalen could have been.

It’s also noteworthy that the Colts website is the one that shared the McAfee explanation given how bad it makes the coaching staff look. Team websites are loathe to make the organization look bad.

But given the reported tumult between Pagano and GM Ryan Grigson, it’s worth wondering whether this damning story needed – and received – a green light from on high before it was published.