INDIANAPOLIS --The Indianapolis defense ruled the day. Andrew Luck knew that and acknowledged it in effusive terms.
"(It was) the epitome of a team football game," the Indy quarterback said Sunday after the Colts captured a 20-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. "The defense lifted us up in a sense.
"(The offense) made our plays, enough to get a win obviously. But kudos to the defense. What a heckuva job they did against a very good offense."
The Colts' defense held Baltimore to 287 total yards and one touchdown with a pair of field goals. The Ravens were a paltry 1-of-11 on third-down conversions. Their possession time in the game was just 21 minutes, 17 seconds.
Coach Chuck Pagano awarded a game ball to everybody on the Indianapolis defense. "They were phenomenal," he said.
Indy's defense sacked Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco four times and hurried him six times while holding him to 235 passing yards. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis intercepted a Flacco pass and returned it 29 yards early in the third quarter, leading to an Indianapolis touchdown.
"Credit (coordinator) Greg Manusky and that entire staff," Pagano said about the defensive effort. "Those guys on that side, they played tremendous. On the outside, the corners did a tremendous job."
And the Colts' offense ratcheted up its output when it had to. After leading by a 6-3 score at halftime -- two field goals by Adam Vinatieri to one for Justin Tucker -- the Colts extended the lead to 13-3 following Davis' big play.
The Colts' offense marched 80 yards for another TD midway through the fourth quarter, taking a 20-6 lead. It proved to be the margin they needed.
Luck completed 32-of-49 passes for 312 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught nine passes for 90 yards. Reggie Wayne caught seven for 77.
The Colts' Ahmad Bradshaw ran 15 times for 68 yards. The Colts rushed for 117 yards and gained 422 total yards.
"Mind you, our offense got the job done also when they needed to," Pagano said, "but it was tough sledding. Credit that defense on the other side."
The Colts won't have long to enjoy the victory. They'll travel to Houston for a Thursday night game on national television.
FIRST QUARTER (9:44 remaining)
A big defensive play set up the Colts for their first score. When Baltimore's Steve Smith caught a short pass, Colts cornerback Greg Toler slammed into him, forcing a fumble. It was recovered by Montori Hughes. When the Colts' offense struggled to generate yardage, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 38-yard field goal.Colts 3, Ravens 0.
SECOND QUARTER (35 seconds remaining)
Vinatieri extended Indy's lead with a 34-yard field goal. However, some bizarre happenings led up to Vinatieri's boot. Earlier in the possession, he hit a 43-yarder before the Colts got the ball back due to a holding penalty against Baltimore. Then an apparent touchdown by the Colts -- on an Andrew Luck pass of six yards to T.Y Hilton -- was wiped out by a pass interference penalty against receiver Reggie Wayne. Finally, after 20 plays and 9 ½ minutes of possession time on the march, Vinatieri kicked the one that counted.Colts 6, Ravens 0.
SECOND QUARTER (0:00 remaining)
The Ravens got on the board with a 52-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. Baltimore set up the score with a 29-yard run by Justin Forsett and a 16-yard pass play from Joe Flacco to Owen Daniels.Colts 6, Ravens 3.
THIRD QUARTER (10:33 remaining)
The Colts' defense continued its impressive day. Vontae Davis intercepted a Flacco pass on Baltimore's first possession after halftime, returning it 29 yards. Luck took over from there, hitting Hilton with an 11-yard pass and later scrambling nine yards for a first down. Luck threw six yards to Dwayne Allen for the touchdown. Vinatieri added the extra point. Colts 13, Ravens 3.
FOURTH QUARTER (13:56 remaining)
Baltimore's Tucker connected on a 27-yard field goal to slice into the Colts' lead. The three-pointer came after the Ravens recovered a fumble by punt returner Griff Whalen. The Colts' defense stiffened after the visitors took possession at the Indy 12, forcing the field goal try.Colts 13, Ravens 6.
FOURTH QUARTER (8:56 remaining)
The Colts' offense took over as Luck went 4-for-4 passing for 75 yards on this scoring drive. He scrambled 13 yards for the touchdown. Vinatieri added the extra point. Colts 20, Ravens 6.
FOURTH QUARTER (7:16 remaining)
The Ravens' offense spread its wings, going 80 yards in four plays to slash the Colts' lead. Flacco hit on 3-of-3 passes for 44 yards. Baltimore also got help from a pass interference call against the Colts' Davis. Forsett scored the TD on an 11-yard run. Tucker hit the extra point.Colts 20, Ravens 13.