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Chuck, strong

INDIANAPOLIS -- Someone else is going to have to write this one. Frank Capra, maybe, the man who gave us "It's A Wonderful Life." Walt Disney. Hell, get Spielberg in here.

Only they could do Sunday justice, with Chuck Pagano coming back to the Colts sideline after clubbing leukemia senseless, and watching in wonder as his Colts pummeled the Houston Texans 28-16 for their 11th win of a season in which five wins once seemed like delirious optimism.

Then Pagano retired to the postgame presser, and gave us all a little Herb Brooks' This Is Your Time oratory about his fight, his gratitude, and mostly his team.

"They didn't have anything to gain today," he said. "You guys reminded me of that on several occasions. But that's not how this group rolls. That's not their mindset. At the beginning of the year, we said we signed up for a 16-game season. And to go out there and watch those guys, the way they played, and you get veteran leadership from Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis, and Dwight Freeney, Cory Redding and Bethea and Adam Vinatieri … I'm leaving out a bunch of guys. You can go on and on."

You can. One of the hallmarks of this team all year has been the way players have risen from obscurity to help it win. Who'd ever heard, before now, of Clifton Geathers, who had a sack on Sunday? Or Deji Karim, who tied a club record with a 101-yard kickoff return that turned the game irretrievably in the Colts' favor?

And when the Colts got the ball with 9:47 to play and leading by 12, was there anyone who remotely suspected the Texans would never see it again?

"I think the sky's the limit when you watch what these guys did to close this thing out," Pagano said.

Right back at ya, Coach, said running back Vick Ballard, who ran for 78 yards on 20 grinding carries.

"It was special," he said of Pagano's return. "It's like ... I really can't relate to it, but I think it's like a child whose father is in the military overseas and coming home. I'm kind of feeling like that."

He wasn't the only one.

Ben Smith's blog.