INDIANAPOLIS – "Find a way to win."
That was Andrew Luck's message in the basement of Lucas Oil Stadium late last Monday night.
Six days later, Luck and the Colts didn't make it easy, but they earned that elusive 'W' that looked so bleak at the start of Sunday's fourth quarter.
"That's as gutsy as a performance as I've been around," Chuck Pagano said minutes after his team had erased a 13-point deficit with less than 13 minutes go.
"This is just what this team needed."
The start on Sunday in Nashville was definitely what the Colts needed after an 0-2 start to the season.
A first-quarter touchdown drive, followed by an interception return for a touchdown from safety Dwight Lowery gave Indianapolis an early 14-0 lead, the first cushion of any kind they had in three games this season.
The momentum would not last though with the Titans rattling off 27 points, seizing control and turning their crowd into a frenzy in their 2015 home opener.
Down 27-14 with 12:20 to play, the Colts faced gut-check time.
Embarking on a drive from their own two-yard line, and down 13 points, the Colts were staring 0-3 right in the face.
No one needed to tell them at that point what the percentages are for 0-3 teams making the playoffs.
Was a score needed there to keep the Colts hopes alive for a much-needed win, and away from a hole that has doomed so many playoff hopes?
"That's a good question," Andrew Luck said after a long pause following the 13th fourth-quarter comeback win of his career.
"Sure felt like it. I don't even want to think about a loss so I'm not going to."
"You got out there and there was a special look in the guys eyes when you're sitting on the two-yard line, 'Okay, this is a test. If we can do this, we have a chance. If we can't, we won't have a chance."
Luck doesn't need to think about a loss thanks to a fourth-quarter (11-of-13 for 144 yards and two touchdowns) that will make watching the early struggles on Sunday much easier come film time this week.
The comeback started with a 12-play, 98-yard touchdown.
Penalties, which continued to plague the Colts on Sunday, bit them again on the drive.
A false start penalty along with a sack put the Colts at a 3rd-and-20 from the Titans 35-yard line, with a little more than seven minutes remaining.
Luck drove one up the seam to rookie Phillip Dorsett and the Colts first-round pick made the contested catch to cut the Titans lead to six points.
Pagano pointed to that play from Dorsett as the play that really changed the complexion of what would be the Colts 14th straight AFC South win.
Following a critical interception by Lowery (his second of the game), Luck and the offense struck right away.
An 11-yard touchdown toss to Donte Moncrief (a play Luck audibled to once the Titans showed a single-high safety look), gave the Colts a one-point lead with 5:59 remaining.
The Colts defense then dialed up another three-and-out, before Frank Gore milked the clock and potentially the game with a six-yard touchdown run.
Down eight points, Tennessee marched right down the field to score with 47 seconds remaining.
Needing a two-point conversion to likely send the game into overtime, the Colts stuffed Titans back Jalston Foster, with multiple Indianapolis defenders denying the tying-try.
"Everybody knew they were going to come back to it," Bjoern Werner, who was in on the stop, said of an earlier Titans touchdown run that ended up being the play call on the two-point conversion. "Everybody was just ready for it and swarmed to the ball.
"That's going to be a clinic right there. If you want to see a whole defense warming to the ball, in a critical moment, that's that play."
The relief completely hit the visiting sideline when a final onside kick try from Tennessee bounced helplessly out of bounds.
With that, the Colts sidelined rejoiced in moving their record to 1-2 on the season and creating a four-way tie in the AFC South.
The game was indicative of so many comebacks this team has orchestrated the past few years.
It's never going to always be smooth sailing, but in the end, it goes back to what Luck said last Monday---find a way.
"If you would have rode the ebbs and flows to this game, it would have killed you," Pagano said after the Colts first win of the season. "You'd die a thousand deaths out there. That's why you've just got to play, keep playing, keep playing. That's why we talk about process, 60 minutes, one play at a time, don't judge, don't look at the scoreboard.
"That's one of the ages as far. We will enjoy this for the little time we get to enjoy this and the 24-hour rule will be in effect and it's onto Jacksonville."
Photos from the week 3 game against Tennessee.