*PAINTER THROWS FIRST CAREER TOUCHDOWN: *In the Colts record book, the passing records might as well be renamed the 'Peyton Manning' section.
Monday night though, it was Curtis Painter's turn to etch his name above Manning as his 87-yard strike to Pierre Garcon was one yard longer than Manning's longest scoring pass.
Backed up to his two-yard line, Painter quickly brought the Colts out of the shadow of their own goal line.
Painter found Garcon down the right sideline on the third play of the drive and the fourth-year pro did the rest out-running the Buccaneers defense for his first of two touchdowns on the evening.
Another quick drive aided the Colts in the third quarter as Garcon took a short pass from Painter and utilized some great downfield blocking for a 59-yard touchdown giving the Colts a 17-10 lead with 7:10 left in the period.
Garcon's two catches for 146 yards led the Colts and also was a new career-high for receiving yards. It was the second time Garcon had two scoring receptions in a regular season outing. The first came at Tennessee in 2010.
Despite having 12 fewer completions than Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, Painter's 281 yards passing were only six fewer than Freeman's. Painter had a 99.4 rating on the evening.
*COLTS BATTLE THROUGH INJURIES: *Earlier this past week the Colts placed two veteran defenders on injured reserve with Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt sidelined for the rest of 2011.
The injury situation continued at Tampa Bay as four players left Monday's contest due to injuries.
The offensive and defensive line each saw a pair of players go down forcing the Colts to play every lineman that made the trip to Tampa Bay.
Rookie offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo was the first Colts casualty, leaving the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
The offensive line was already without right guard Ryan Diem, who missed his second straight contest. Down two starters, rookie Ben Ijalana saw his first significant playing time in the NFL as he subbed in for Castonzo.
Ijalana blocked Painter's blind side for the next three quarters before an injury sent him to the locker room for the rest of the evening.
Fresh off the practice squad, offensive tackle Mike Tepper played the rest of the evening at right tackle after Jeff Linkenbach moved over to the left side of the line.
The only backup offensive lineman left for the Colts was offensive guard Seth Olsen, who was signed as a free agent three weeks ago.
The most difficult injury for the Colts came when defensive tackle Eric Foster was carted off the field late in the second quarter with a leg injury.
Already without defensive tackle Fili Moala on Monday night, the Foster injury left the Colts with two healthy defensive tackles in Antonio Johnson and Drake Nevis.
Battling injuries all night, Nevis eventually was sidelined for the rest of the night in the second half. The Nevis injury forced defensive ends Jamaal Anderson and Tyler Brayton to play inside on the defensive line the rest of the night.
*DEFENSE STARTS HOT: *Riding momentum from a stout performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Colts defense started with a pair of three-and-outs Monday night.
After Painter fumbled after being hit on a blitz on the Colts' 32-yard line, the defense held its ground and forced Tampa Bay to try a 46-yard field goal. The effort hit off the right upright and Indianapolis kept its 3-0 lead.
With the Colts leading 10-7 and only 1:52 remaining in the first half, the Buccaneers took the field looking for a late score.
The Buccaneers drove to the Colts' 11-yard line with 20 seconds remaining, however defensive end Robert Mathis made sure the drive would stop there when he recorded his 77th career sack.
Chaos ensued with the Buccaneers trying to rush their field goal unit onto the field, but they were flagged for too many men on the field thus ending the half with the Colts still leading 10-7.
The injuries to the defensive line allowed for 2010 first-round draft pick Jerry Hughes to get ample playing time in the second half.
Hughes had his first career NFL sack when he brought Freeman down for a five-yard loss with 3:52 left in the third quarter.
NOTES: Wide receiver Reggie Wayne had four receptions for 59 yards, moving him past the 11,000-yard plateau in career reception yards, the 24th player to accomplish the feat. One week earlier, Wayne made his 800th career reception…Painter became the 10th player to make his first career start at quarterback in the club's Indianapolis era…only Chris Chandler (1988) won his first start, but Painter became the only of the 10 performers to toss two scoring passes in a career starting debut…he became the fifth Colts quarterback to have two 50 -yard scoring passes in the same game, joining John Unitas, Earl Morrall, Bert Jones and Manning…linebacker Kavell Conner was credited with 18 tackles, a career-high and two shy of the total made by linebacker Pat Angerer against Pittsburgh in week three…kicker Adam Vinatieri now has scored in 118 consecutive regular-season games.