Ravens cornerback Corey Graham, left, and outside linebacker Paul Kruger sack the Colts' Andrew Luck. The rookie lost in his debut playoff game after winning 11 games this season.
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BALTIMORE — Andrew Luck was harried and hurried in his first career playoff appearance as the Indianapolis Colts' unlikely run came to a disappointing end.
Chuck Pagano's emotional return to Baltimore also ended with a thud as the Colts fell 24-9 to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC wild-card game Sunday.
"The Ravens made plays when they needed to and we didn't," Luck said. "Field goals in the red zone killed us. Some bad balls by me killed us. ... I wish we could have done better."
After improving from 2-14 to 11-5 with No. 1 overall draft pick Luck running their high-octane offense, the Colts couldn't even score a touchdown against the Ravens.
Pagano chose to emphasize the improvements the Colts made in a season filled with adversity, rather than dwell on the way it ended.
"The foundation is set, and we said we were going to build one on rock and not on sand," Pagano said.
"You weather storms like this and you learn from times like this. This disappointment and the feelings they all have right now, that's what's going to propel us to 2013 and motivate us to come back and work even harder."
One key moving forward will be Luck, who reached the playoffs as a rookie. Luck was 28 for 54 for 288 yards and an interception, but was often under pressure and forced to scramble by a Ravens defense energized by the return of linebacker Ray Lewis from a torn tricep.
"We still had opportunities," said Luck, who was sacked three times. "We still put ourselves in positions to score and didn't take advantage of them, and a lot of credit goes to the Baltimore defense. What a great, great unit. I wish we could have capitalized on a couple of those drives, but we didn't."
Owner Jim Irsay said the Colts' future is promising.
"This year was incredible," he said. "It was special and unique in so many ways. It was one of the most special seasons in Colts history and probably in NFL history. I couldn't have imagined how this season would have played out. We had a coach fighting for his life, we reorganized, won 11 games and went to the playoffs. ... To say that our future is bright is an understatement."