INDIANAPOLIS – A long week following an abnormal loss, made for plenty of pent-up anger for the Colts on Monday night.
Thanks to a 40-24 win on national television, the Colts (6-3) will now take a two-game lead in the AFC South into the bye week before the New England Patriots (7-2) come to Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16.
Here's a notebook look at the Colts 40-24 win over the Giants:
Andrew Luck Continues Torrid Start
With November upon us, Andrew Luck got a head start on Thanksgiving by carving up yet another NFL defense.
Luck's slicing came in the form of a 354-yard night, four touchdowns and a laundry list of accolades that continue to pile up week-after week.
"He's playing outstanding," Chuck Pagano said of Luck after the 40-24 victory. "We know how tough he is. He stands in there and finds a way to get the ball in the playmakers' hands and does a great job managing things at the line of scrimmage.
"That's what we gave him the game ball for. We just need to keep him playing the way he's playing, keep him healthy."
On Monday night, Luck did what he's done for virtually the entire season.
He found nine different receivers (six of which caught at least three passes).
Luck's four touchdown passes gives him 26 on the season, eclipsing the 23 he threw in each of his first two seasons.
In typical Luck fashion, he deflected any attention.
"There are a lot of weapons on this team," the league's leading passer said. "I think it's tough for defenses to focus on one guy.
"I think we know what the wide outs can do and that's not just starting, too, that's all five guys on the roster that play wide receiver. The tight ends I think create great match-up problems, the running backs do a hell of a job running the ball, but getting out after protection, chipping, finding their checks down there, they're as solid group as I've ever played with. And obviously the O-line's playing well and I think Pep [Hamilton]'s doing a good job of mixing stuff up and getting different guys involved in different ways and again."
Luck exited MetLife Stadium early Tuesday morning after becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards in five straight road games.
He now has seven straight 300-yard passing games, just two shy of the NFL record.
"The way he's been playing, the way he played tonight, he's an outstanding young quarterback that throws and manages the game very well and is accurate," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of the opposing quarterback from Monday night.
Defense Bounces Back
In a week of fielding questions on which Colts defense was the 2014 version, the unit answered those by looking like the group seen during the team's five-game winning streak.
From Vontae Davis returning to the lineup, players emerging in the front seven and consistent play on third down, the defense now carries a good taste into the bye week.
"Defense - outstanding job," Pagano said after the win.
Pagano wanted his defense to finish off Monday night in better fashion but he couldn't deny his pleasure for the bulk of the contest.
With Arthur Jones and Erik Walden out of the lineup, rookies Zach Kerr and Jonathan Newsome continued to flash.
Kerr had a sack, his third of the season and joined fellow defensive lineman Josh Chapman with a forced fumble.
Off the edge, Newsome had a pair of sacks and his strip of Manning late in the third quarter set up the Colts final score of the night.
The Colts held Giants starting running back Andre Williams to just 22 rushing yards on 12 carries.
It was back to normal third-down life for the Colts defense as they allowed just 4-of-16 conversions, backing up the league's top ranking.
"We just needed a win," Pagano said. "It was dominant for a portion but, again, credit them. They have great players and a great quarterback and they found a way to move the ball a little bit late."Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks Contribute Against Former Team
The hugs for Hakeem Nicks started before the game and Ahmad Bradshaw thanked the Giants fans post game by circling around MetLife Stadium.
The two former Giants, who played critical roles in past Super Bowl teams for New York, left their old home with a convincing victory on Monday.
"It was exciting," Bradshaw said. "It was an emotional game coming back, seeing some old friends and playing against them. There are a lot of guys that used to be brothers to me, so it was exciting. I had a lot of fun out there. It was good coming back and experiencing this."
Bradshaw led the Colts with seven carries for 50 yards and added three catches for 29 yards.
Nicks had three catches for 44 yards.
"It was all love…but during the game it was football," Nicks said after the win.
"There are no hard feelings with any of those guys over there. I won a Super Bowl with those guys, so there will never be any hard feelings. Getting back out there was good today and being able to get this win was great."
Photos from the Monday Night Football game at MetLife Stadium
Colts Take Two-Game AFC South Lead Into The Bye Week
It was another display of resiliency for Chuck Pagano's Colts.
Defeats don't linger with these Colts as they moved their record to 12-1 in games immediately following losses, which is the best mark in the NFL since the start of 2012.
"Reggie (Wayne) spoke to it before the game last night---he's only had one or two in his career, but losses before a bye week stink," Andrew Luck said after the game. "Not that we needed any more motivation to come out and play, but it's good to get a win on this bye week and we'll go back and see what we did right, see what we did wrong and move on from there."
With the win, the Colts head into their bye week at 6-3 with a two-game lead in the AFC South.
They will have three straight home games following their bye, starting with New England (7-2, winners of five straight) on Sunday Night Football (11/16).
"We have an opportunity to take a look at ourselves from a self-scout standpoint but, more importantly, to get away for a little bit and regroup," Pagano said of the Week 10 bye.
"We feel good about 6-3, two and a half games up in the division. Like I told the guys, we don't need any help from anybody, we control our own destiny. If we just stick to the process, keep grinding, keep preparing, then good things should happen."A Look At The Colts Snap Counts Against The Giants
-With Reggie Wayne back in the lineup, the wide receiver snaps were as followed: T.Y. Hilton (57 of 75), Reggie Wayne (54), Hakeem Nicks (38), Donte Moncrief (25) and Griff Whalen (4).
-At running back, Trent Richardson returned to the lineup and played 21 snaps. Ahmad Bradshaw led the running backs with 44 snaps. Boom Herron logged 10 in mop-up duty.
-Chuck Pagano said after the game that it was an internal matter for Hugh Thornton not starting on Monday night. In Thornton's place, Lance Louis played all 75 snaps at right guard.
-Defensively, Jerrell Freeman and Mike Adams each played all 76 snaps.
-With Arthur Jones out of the lineup, the defensive line snaps were as followed: Cory Redding (60), Ricky Jean Francois (48), Zach Kerr (31), Montori Hughes (23) and Josh Chapman (14).
-With Erik Walden missing Monday night, Jonathan Newsome played 46 snaps. Andy Studebaker logged 37 defensive snaps and Victor Butler chipped in 8 snaps off the edge.
-Vontae Davis played 63 of 76 defensive snaps after missing a bulk of the Steelers game.