INDIANAPOLIS – Yep, this one was big.
Week Three NFL games rarely have the urgency of a December tilt, but this one was different.
The Colts knew the numbers.
Since 2006, not one NFL team who has started a season 0-3 has gone on to make the playoffs.
Chuck Pagano's opening statement following Sunday's 26-22 win over the Chargers summed up his team's mindset about how important this one was for the 0-2 Colts.
"There's nothing like winning," Pagano said after his team was able to make the plays late following two fourth-quarter losses to start 2016.
"Just what the doctor ordered."
Photos from the week 3 contest between Indianapolis and San Diego.
It was a wild 60 minutes of football on Sunday, with ebbs and flows shifting from sideline-to-sideline.
Down two with 2:29 left on Sunday, Andrew Luck and the offense took over at their own 17-yard line.
Score and stop.
It's where the Colts were in Week One against the Lions.
On that Sunday, both outcomes didn't occur---leading to a loss.
This Sunday, they did---leading to a win.
"It's hard to verbalize how important it is," a relieved Luck said after victory No. 1 on Sunday, "but I'm sure you can tell by my demeanor up here.
"It means a lot, it does."
Luck was a part of the roller coaster afternoon.
Two first-half turnovers from Luck led to 10 San Diego points and turned a strong opening two quarters from the Colts into a tie score at halftime.
Vintage Luck bounced back though. He completed 11 straight passes following a first-half pick six and then dialed up his 15th game-winning drive by helping T.Y. Hilton turn in one of the finest performances of his career.
"We knew what this game meant," Hilton said after Sunday, donning his half Captain America, half Iron Man backpack, backing up comments from earlier in the week with an eight-catch, 174-yard effort against the Chargers.
For Hilton's 63-yard touchdown to be labeled a game-winner, the defense had to finish off what the unit couldn't do in Week One.
On Sunday, the defense, with many key cogs back in the lineup, showed what that group is capable of in 2016.
The defense allowed just 37 rushing yards, marking just the third time in the last seven years it has held an opponent to 37 or fewer rushing yards in a game.
But, still, one more play was needed.
Safety Clayton Geathers sealed things by punching the ball out from Chargers tight end Hunter Henry. Fellow safety Mike Adams jumped on the loose ball and the Colts had done it---score and stop.
The "doomsday" scenario of starting 0-3 was gone.
After a three-week start where all three Colts' games have gone down to the final minutes, they left Sunday's 60-minute affair with a notch in the 'W' column.
The past two years, the Colts have turned Week Three wins into winning streaks.
Before any sort of domino effect happens though, the first tile had to be pushed down.
"It is huge. Huge." Pagano said of Sunday's win. "We faced adversity today and found a way to win. We didn't do that in Weeks One and Two.
"This team needed this."