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Arians: We need to extend season long enough for Pagano to return

The Colts' Bruce Arians reads from his play sheet during an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians reads from his play sheet as he talks into his headset against the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Indiana November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


The Colts got an emotional boost before their 23-20 win over the Dolphins when coach Chuck Pagano addressed the team in his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since being diagnosed with a form of leukemia.

They got another one via a classic postgame speech from their ailing head coach as he promised to dance at his daughters’ weddings and win the Super Bowl with the Colts. In between, quarterback Andrew Luck set a record for the most passing yards by a rookie in a single game and the Colts defense held the Dolphins to three second half points to come back for their fifth win of the year.

After the game, interim head coach Bruce Arians was asked about how Pagano’s presence inspired the team. Arians said that it has inspired them to set a new goal for the season.

“Well for me, it’s to make sure we make the playoffs because he’s got a great chance to be back at the end of December,” Arians said in comments distributed by the team. “We need to make sure we extend this season so he can be back on the sidelines with us, healthy. That’s our goal.”

It’s one they stand a fair chance of meeting. The Colts play two teams that currently have winning records (they play the Texans twice) and the .500 Lions in addition to games against the Jaguars, Titans, Bills and Chiefs. That puts a winning record within reach and they’d have a good shot at a playoff berth if they can repeat their 5-3 record in the second half of the season.