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Second-half struggles not an easy fix for Colts

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Pagano laments inability to pick up first downs (0:53)

Chuck Pagano says the offense's struggles to move the chains keeps the defense on the field and leads to the opposing team picking up big plays. (0:53)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The excuses have gotten old.

After the first time it happens? Yeah, that's OK.

After the second and maybe third time it happens? That's fine too, but there's only so much more you want to listen to.

Now after a fourth and fifth time? That's inexcusable.

That's what it has come to for the Indianapolis Colts and their atrocious second-half play this season.

The Colts became even more the butt of jokes with their problems in the final 30 minutes when the Tennessee Titans had a 24-point swing in the second half to beat them 36-22 on Monday.

"It's frustrating all the way around," Colts defensive lineman Al Woods said. "At the end of the day, we have to finish, bottom line."

You thought early on that maybe this would be a short-term issue for the Colts. But as each week has passed, it has not only become a physical challenge for them, but it's also a matter of them being mentally soft because they have yet to fix the problem.

Mentally soft teams, especially those that have a fair share of young players getting playing time, don't have success.

How else can you explain the Colts being 2-4 and sitting dead last in the AFC South?

"Your record is what you are," Colts linebacker John Simon said. "Right now, we're 2-4, and we need to change that."

Getting things turned around won't be easy for the Colts. The second-half problems are weighing on the players. They're saying all the right things, but their body language suggests something different. Players are dressing and leaving the locker room quicker, and the ones that are talking usually have to pause and collect their thoughts before speaking.

"Can't believe the failure part of it," Woods said. "Keep working, keep working. Rome wasn't built in a day. Just have to stay faithful to process and keep working."

The Colts were expected to struggle this season, but how they've been struggling has been alarming. And the longer they continue to falter in the second half, the more likely things could fall apart for them.

"All the leaders, we have to keep everybody together," Indy running back Frank Gore said. "It's not the other team, it's us. We have to start faster in the second half. Have to find a way to play 60 minutes of football. All the leaders the young guys look up to, we have to bring each other together and have to do it. It's been like this the last six games.

"Just have to find a way to do it. That's been all year. Every man has to look each other in the eye and find a way to come out in the second half and play like we play in the first half."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano's postgame news conferences have become almost predictable as he continues to say it was a disappointing performance and they're going to keep working to get those issues fixed. The reality is, Pagano isn't helping his job status by saying that: He's the person responsible for getting his team prepared every week. The Colts have been outscored 88-25 in the fourth quarter and overtime this season. That's not a sign of team that wants to win; it's more of a sign of a mentally soft team that doesn't know how to.

"We have to figure it out," Pagano said. "We're 2-4, we know what our record is, we know the circumstances are, we've got 10 games to go. We have a short week and a home division game coming up [against the Jacksonville Jaguars]. We've got to figure it out in a hurry, and we'll keep working."