INDIANAPOLIS – Eight starters missing? No problem.
That's what it looked like watching the Colts starting units operate in four drives apiece on Saturday night.
The Colts starters carved out a 13-0 lead at Lucas Oil Stadium, a margin that would swell to 26-0, before the Giants roared back with four final quarter touchdowns to escape with a 27-26 win.
Chuck Pagano wasted no time in covering some of the most important news of the preseason home opener.
"Good news is no injuries to report," Pagano said to open his post game presser.
"There was a ton of good things. The first half, you can't play a better half of football."
The defense set the tone on Saturday night with a pair of three-and-outs on the Giants first two series.
With LaRon Landry and Vontae Davis making their preseason debuts, it was the Colts rush defense that was particularly effective.
Thanks to some timely pressures in passing situations, the Colts defense held the Giants scoreless throughout the entire first half.
Eli Manning finished the night just 1-of-7 for six yards and the Giants first team offense settled for four punts on their four series.
On those four drives, the Giants ran 20 plays for 53 yards of total offense. The Giants first team offense had five first downs in their four drives, three of which came via Colts penalties.
"I thought we rose to the challenge and got better on every level," inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who had a first quarter sack of Manning, said.
"Every unit played decent in the first half."
Offensively, the Colts first team recovered from an opening three-and-out to score on its next three drives.
Andrew Luck was 12-of-18 for 89 yards and tossed a five-yard touchdown pass to Griff Whalen.
Playing against his former team, Hakeem Nicks was the offensive highlight with five catches (on five targets) for 44 yards. Nicks was the main receiving threat with T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne out of the lineup.
"(Nicks) was outstanding," Pagano said after the game.
"Him and Andrew were in a rhythm. Obviously, we figured he'd play inspired football against a really good football team."
The Colts offensive line played without starters Jack Mewhort and Khaled Holmes, yet gave Luck plenty of time to lead the three scoring drives.
Coming into Saturday night, the Giants had been allowing just 22 percent of conversions on third-down in their two preseason games. The Colts were 5-of-10 on the money down in the first half.
Adam Vinatieri knocked home field goals of 53 and 43 yards.
Next up for the Colts is another Saturday night preseason contest at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The New Orleans Saints (2-0) come to Indy for an 8:00 p.m. EST kickoff next Saturday. The game will air nationally on CBS with starters expected to play into the second half.