Chuck Pagano receives grand welcome on return to sidelines, adds victory to an emotional day

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano's return to the NFL after beating a late September leukemia diagnosis has been well-documented, and Pagano finally got his wish when he took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for the Colts' Week 17 game against the Houston Texans.

As drums played in the stadium, Colts cheerleaders lined up on both sided of a big inflatable horse, Pagano walked to the sideline,  put on his headset to prepare for the game, and hugged his assistants. He had hugged his wife and spent a little time with Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in pregame warmups.

The Colts team responded well to Pagano's return. They took the ball first from their own 25-yard line, and drove 75 yards in 13 plays and 7:09 of game clock for an opening touchdown. The 10-5 Colts were playing for pride, and for their head coach -- win or lose, they're locked into the no. 5 seed, while the 12-3 Texans were playing for the first overall seed in the AFC, and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

[Also: Megatron finishes 36 yards short of 2,000 for the season]

The Colts played inspired football from the start, and beat the Texans, 28-16, in a game that gave the franchise its best win total since 2009, when the team went 14-2.

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