INDIANAPOLIS – Considering the opponent, the personnel of the Colts and the overall team performance, Sunday was unquestionably the best game Chuck Pagano's bunch has played in 2016.
In keeping the team's dwindling playoff hopes alive, the Colts did their part with a 34-6 thrashing of the Vikings.
Here's a notebook look at the Colts (7-7) win over the Vikings (7-7) in Week 15:
**Frank Gore Offers Up Post-Game Speech
**Watching Frank Gore speak to his teammates following Sunday's 34-6 win over the Vikings and you see pretty quick why he's one of the most loved players inside that locker room.
Gore's passion was crystal clear after his 101-yard afternoon helped the Colts to a dominant victory.
With guys clapping and cheering for the typically quiet Gore, the future Hall of Fame back took the floor:
"Hey man, this is us though!" Gore said inside the visiting locker room. "We can do this every week. This is us, bro. It's all up there (pointing to his head). It's all a mindset. We got it in here though. Coaches, they work their (butts) off.
"Let's go! Come on, please, dog, please."
The final plea was letting his teammates know the level this team can/should be at in 2016.
Gore and the ground game tied a season-high with 161 rushing yards on Sunday.
The production came even though the team was starting three rookie linemen, missing half of their top six trench guys.
"I'm happy for the young guys," Gore said afterwards.
"We work hard every day. They work hard every day as a group. (Offensive line) Coach (Joe) Philbin and the other coaches do a great job of challenging them every week. Knowing what type of defense we were playing, they came ready to play."
In eclipsing 100 yards, Gore became the first Colts' back to do that multiple times in a single-season since Joseph Addai in 2007.
Gore is now back on pace to reach Addai's 1,000-yard season from nearly a decade ago. Gore enters the final two weeks of the season 109 yards short of 1,000.
"I had fun," Gore said of his second best outing in 2016. "I take my hat off to the guys up front, knowing what type of defense they have. They did a great job."**
Defense Creates Game-Changing Plays**
What has been missing for much of 2016 showed up quite large on Sunday for Ted Monachino's defense.
The Colts forced three turnovers and sacked Sam Bradford five times on Sunday.
Mike Adams had two turnovers and Robert Mathis' 51st career strip/sack came in his return to the lineup after missing the last two games.
The five sacks for the Colts tied a season-high.**
**"That was the plan," Mathis said of disrupting Sam Bradford's timing. "As front line guys, you have to get to the quarterback and protect your own quarterback. The quarterback is the engine behind every game."
The three turnovers were the type of plays this defense hasn't found enough of in 2016.
After taking a 17-0 lead thanks to strong defense, it was that unit which didn't allow any hope for the Vikings.
The defense recorded turnovers on their next three drives, leading to 10 points and stopping another Minnesota possession inside Indianapolis' 10-yard line.
Adams and Mathis weren't the only veterans to step up on Sunday.
Leading sacker Erik Walden added two more, giving him 10 for the year.
Walden's 10.0 sacks in his ninth NFL season are a career-high. Walden is the first Colt not named Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis to reach double-digit sacks since Chad Bratzke in 1999.
Minnesota's offense has struggled to move the ball all year long, but the turnovers from that unit on Sunday were rare.**
The Indianapolis Colts traveled to play the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15.
Pretty Clean Injury Day
**Some of the best news from Week 15 for the Colts came in the middle of Chuck Pagano post-game opening statement.
The only injury the Colts had was a shoulder for special teamer Chris Carter.
Outside of that, the Colts did not have one player leave the game due to injury.
That's especially good news for the Colts going into a short week.
With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, most of the NFL will play this coming Saturday.
The Colts will be one of those teams, taking on the Raiders (11-3) in Week 16.
It will be an adjusted schedule for the Colts this week. They will have their mandatory off day on Monday, practice Tuesday-Thursday, then depart for California on Friday afternoon.
The second longest road trip of the season for the Colts will take them to Oakland for a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday.**
Colts/Vikings Snap Counts**
- Rookie tackle Le'Raven Clark came into Sunday having played six career offensive snaps. On Sunday, Clark got the start and played 68 of the team's 70 snaps.
- The wide receivers snaps, without Donte Moncrief, were as followed: T.Y. Hilton (60-of-70 snaps), Jacoby Brissett (57-of-70), Chester Rogers (42-of-70) and Devin Street (7-of-70).
- The tight ends had a very nice day in combing for 8 catches in 9 targets and 95 yards. Jack Doyle played 51 snaps. Dwayne Allen logged 33 snaps and Mo Alie-Cox played 26.
- Mike Adams, Vontae Davis and Edwin Jackson played all 58 snaps on Sunday. Jackson tied for the team-lead with 7 tackles.
- After missing the last two weeks, Robert Mathis returned to play 27 snaps. Mathis finished with a strip/sack.
- With the moves to injured reserve of CB-Patrick Robinson and S-Clayton Geathers, the Colts continue to rely on CB-Rashaan Melvin (42-of-58 snaps) and CB/S-Darius Butler (44-of-58 snaps).