What Matt Hasselbeck did was undeniably impressive: overcoming oldness and a “bacterial infection” that hospitalized him earlier this week to lead the Colts to a 27-20 win over the Texans, Indy’s second straight win over a divisional opponent without the services of Andrew Luck. But the Colts appear to be declaring it a genuine miracle. Check out this quote from head coach Chuck Pagano:
“He was literally on his deathbed Monday/Tuesday and mustered up enough to come in Wednesday and practice,” Pagano said. “He was getting IVs and fighting a virus and the grittiest performance I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
On his deathbed! Literally!
“He didn’t look good, man,” teammate Joe Reitz said. “He was sitting there like a zombie.”
“Looked like warmed-over death,” added Vinatieri.
We’ve got a note in with Elias, but the Colts are believed to be the first team in NFL history to win a game with an undead quarterback. Zombie Hasselbeck looked good, going 18-of-29 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. It was a night for the old guys, with Andre Johnson catching both TD passes and Frank Gore rushing for 98 yards to take some of the pass-rush pressure off of Hasselbeck.
It was a feel-good win for Indy, but the fact that a barfing, shitting 40-year-old got the start over Luck is probably a sign that Luck’s injury (rumored to be a separated shoulder) is worse than anyone has let on. He’s supposed to be returning next week, but then again Pagano was “supremely confident” he’d be starting last week.
The other takeaway is that the AFC South blows. The Colts were 1-2 and in shambles, without their star quarterback, and neither the Jaguars nor the Texans could take advantage. There’s an alternate universe where not too many things happen differently and Indy is 0-5 right now. But the Colts, who may not be a very good football team even when healthy, are going to win this division going away. Again.
But this was Hasselbeck’s night. He was emotional after the game, choking up in his interview with NFL Network. “I got nothing left,” he said.
But for as much as his coaches and teammates were gushing about his performance, no one was gushing more than the flu-ridden Hasselbeck this week. Literally.
“Lots of stuff coming out of the attic, then a lot of stuff coming out the basement,” was how Matt Hasselbeck put it.