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Balanced Performance Leads To Through Colts Victory

Intro: A week after losing their toughest game of the season, the Colts were beyond impressive with a 34-6 victory over the Vikings. What came together for the Colts on Sunday?


MINNEAPOLIS – About the only thing that could have warmed up the negative temperatures in Minnesota on Sunday was the play of the team visiting Minneapolis.

It was an onslaught from the Colts, with all three facets of the game leading to the team's 34-6 win over the Vikings.

The win kept Indianapolis' slim playoff hopes alive, in a fashion not many saw coming on the road in Week 15.

"I don't know what it is about this group but with their backs against the wall, must-game situation, seems like all hope is lost, this team responds," Chuck Pagano said of the team's fourth straight road victory.

Going up against the NFL's top scoring defense, offensive production for the Colts figured to be difficult to come by in Minnesota.

That wasn't the case though. At all.

The Colts had three touchdown drives of at least 88 yards. An offensive line down three of its top six linemen didn't allow Andrew Luck to be sacked (the first time that has happened all season).

Luck had a feeling this effort was coming from the men in charge of keeping him upright.

At Saturday night's production meeting with the CBS broadcast crew, Luck let them know his beliefs.

"I had full confidence in those guys to go out there and do a really good job," Luck said of the line, a group that started three rookies in Sunday's fourth straight road victory.

"I told someone (Saturday) night in our production meeting, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how these guys will play. They worked their butts off and it was really, really good to see all of it come together today."

The holes in the run game were equally as impressive as the time the offensive line, which received a deserved game ball, gave Luck.

Frank Gore (a season-high 26 carries for 101 yards) was back over 100 yards for the second time this season. Reserve Robert Turbin (7 carries for 32 yards and 2 touchdowns) again produced.

The ability to run it, plus an early lead, fit right into the Colts' game plan.

"When we can run it in a positive clip and use run action/play action, it helps the drop backs, it helps everything," Luck said after his 21-of-28 day for 250 yards, two touchdowns and a 125.6 rating.

"We established a rhythm early, run, pass. It was a great team victory."

Indy's defense was impressive, too.

Even though Minnesota's offense has struggled all year long, the Colts got the game-changing plays defensively that were missing last week.

The Colts had two turnovers deep in Minnesota territory and sacked Sam Bradford five times.

Late in Sunday's fourth quarter, with the Colts firmly in control, the scoreboard watching around the AFC South looked promising.

That quickly changed though.

Wins from the Titans and Texans have the Colts still on the brink of playoff elimination with two weeks remaining.

Seeing that still didn't diminish the team's thorough, balanced, beat down of the Vikings.

"Guys did a great job," Pagano said, "in all three phases."

The Indianapolis Colts traveled to play the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15.

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