INDIANAPOLIS --- The Colts beat the Giants 40-24 Monday night to improve to 6-3 on the season, just one game behind the team with the best record in the AFC, which just so happens to be the team Indianapolis will face next after a bye week - the New England Patriots, week 11 on Sunday Night Football at Lucas Oil Stadium (can't wait).
But before the Circle City dives into two weeks of that marquee match-up, here are the biggest storylines to take away from a dominant performance on the road over the New York football Giants:
1) Andrew Luck is on pace for history --- Luck finished the night 25-46 for 354 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It puts him on pace now for 5,484 yards. Peyton Manning holds the single-season passing yards record with 5,477 yards. But wait there's more…
Luck joins Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees (who did it twice) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 3,000+ yards in the first 9 games of the season.
Luck is the 1st player in NFL history to throw for 350+ yards in five consecutive road games.
Luck has 300+ yards in seven straight games, extending his franchise record, and now just two games shy of Drew Brees and his NFL record.
He's on pace for 46 touchdowns, and now has 26 passing touchdowns breaking his career-high of 23...in just 9 games.
Lastly, he's just the 3rd quarterback to ever throw 40+ pass attempts in six consecutive games.
These are just mind-blowing accomplishments for a player who is only in his third NFL season.
2) Tight Ends from start to end --- It was clear from almost the start that the Colts wanted to get their tight ends involved against the Giants. Coby Fleener had 9 first half targets, surpassing his season-high of 8 vs. Denver week 1 before halftime. He finished with 4 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown with a team-high 11 targets. Dwayne Allen added five more targets, good for 4 receptions, 48 yards, and a touchdown. The Colts must have seen something they could exploit on tape from the Giants last two games, when New York gave up 8 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns to Philadelphia tight ends, followed by 5 catches for 92 yards and two more touchdowns to Dallas tight ends. Whatever it was, it worked.
3) Reggie Wayne's elbow is fine --- 10 targets for the veteran that he converted into four receptions for 70 yards and a 40-yard touchdown down the sideline. He also passed James Lofton for 8th on the all-time receiving yards list. After one game away, #87 played very well.
4) T.Y. Hilton is 5'9" but plays like he's 6'9" --- On a 3rd quarter pass in the endzone that looked to be a sure interception for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Hilton elevated than wrestled the ball away, stealing a 31-yard touchdown. Earlier in the week Hilton was asked if he ever wished he was a taller receiver. Without missing a beat, he responded he likes what he has. That fantastic TD Monday night showed why what T.Y.'s got is working just fine for him. He finished with 3 receptions for 71 yards and that score.
5) Defense was laser focused --- I have the opportunity pre-game to listen to the captains at each position give final instructions to teammates before they take the field for warm-ups. A few of the defensive captains referenced the poor showing at Pittsburgh and wanting to show that was not the real Colts defense. They did just that with a fantastic 1st half performance, forcing the Giants to punt on their first five possessions before a field goal (only points for New York in the half). The Colts defense also held Eli Manning to under 40% accuracy in the first half, and for the game, they sacked him three times.
6) Another rookie steps up --- Outside linebacker and local Ball State product Jonathan Newsome came up large in a game where he was called on to help fill in for Erik Walden (out with a hip injury). His day: 7 tackles, 5 solo, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 tackles for loss, and another hit on the quarterback. The rookie wreaked havoc on Eli Manning and the Giants' offensive line. "(The Giants offensive line) didn't really do well with movement throughout the season," said Newsome afterwards. "So, basically a lot of stuns up front." Chirp. Chirp.