INDIANAPOLIS --The Colts enjoyed an evening of huge success by their regulars but had to suffer through a disconcerting fourth quarter as they watched the visiting New York Giants score four unanswered touchdowns on the reserves.
The Giants departed Lucas Oil Stadium with a 27-26 preseason victory Saturday night. The Colts are 0-2 in the preseason, having lost to both New York teams.
As strong as the Colts' getaway was in this game, the ending left Coach Chuck Pagano with a sour taste.
"You gotta be able to finish games," Pagano said. "That's unacceptable. That's what I told the guys. It doesn't matter who's out there -- first team, second team, third team. It doesn't matter.
"We're held to a high standard, all of us. The expectations are high for everybody. You're up 26-nil, you gotta close those things out and finish games."
Earlier, however, the Colts painted a picture of sweet success with their front-line players.
Quarterback Andrew Luck propelled Indianapolis to a 13-point lead before retiring for the night. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had a big game against the club for which he played for five seasons.
The Colts' defensive regulars -- starters as well as top backups -- mounted a shutout in the first half that the team carried through three quarters.
"The first half -- you can't play a better half of football," Pagano said.
Luck completed 12-of-18 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown. The Colts scored on three of his four drives -- on his 5-yard TD pass to Griff Whalen and field goals by Adam Vinatieri of 53 and 43 yards.
Nicks had five receptions for 53 yards. It certainly impressed Luck.
"(It's) his run after the catch, his strong hands," Luck said about the receiver. "(He's) a fun guy to play with, a fun teammate. He loves football."
The Colts' defense turned in a top-notch first half, holding New York to five first downs and 48 total yards.
At game's end, Pagano sent in punter Pat McAfee, who's also the backup place-kicker, to attempt a 64-yard field goal to win. It was wide left.
"Before the year's over," Pagano predicted, "he's going to hit a game-winner from 60-plus yards."
Photos from the first preseason home game of the 2014 season
FIRST QUARTER (6:24 remaining)
On their second offensive possession, the Colts started clicking. Andrew Luck completed 6-of-8 passes for 49 yards, including the 5-yard touchdown throw to Griff Whalen. Former Giant Hakeem Nicks made a pair of receptions for Indy, totaling 28 yards. Adam Vinatieri kicked the extra point. Colts 7, Giants 0.
FIRST QUARTER (5:18 remaining)
The 41-year-old Vinatieri booted a 53-yard field goal to extend the Colts' lead. It was set up by a fumble recovery on Indy's kickoff after the opening score. Colts kicker Cody Parkey grabbed the loose ball after New York returner Quintin Demps lost the handle following a hit by Mike Adams. Colts 10, Giants 0.
SECOND QUARTER (10:29 remaining)
A couple of New York penalties helped the Colts' cause as the home team assembled a 14-play, 66-yard drive leading to another Vinatieri field goal, this one from 43 yards. The key play for Indy was a 14-yard completion, Luck to Nicks, early in the march. Colts 13, Giants 0.
SECOND QUARTER (2:06 remaining)
When a key roughing-the-passer penalty was charged against New York's Robert Ayers Jr., the Colts took advantage. A drive that verged on stalling got new life, and backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tossed a 14-yard scoring pass to Da'Rick Rogers. The march went 71 yards in 10 plays. Vinatieri added the extra point. Colts 20, Giants 0.
THIRD QUARTER (5:54 remaining)
Parkey, an undrafted rookie from Auburn, continued his nice night for the Colts after the earlier fumble recovery. This time, he booted a 45-yard field goal to conclude a seven-play, 29-yard march. A horse-collar penalty flagged on the Giants when Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish scrambled early in the drive turned out to be an important play. Colts 23, Giants 0.
FOURTH QUARTER (14:56 remaining)
Parkey added to the Colts' lead with a 31-yard field goal. Harnish completed a 12-yard pass to Weslye Saunders to keep the drive going early. Harnish scrambled for a 13-yard gain a bit later. Colts 26, Giants 0.
FOURTH QUARTER (10:16 remaining)
Former Colts quarterback Curtis Painter got the Giants on the board with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Davis. Earlier in the drive, Painter connected with Preston Parker for a 14-yard gain that helped to set up the TD. The drive went 11 plays and 80 yards. Josh Brown kicked the extra point. Colts 26, Giants 7.
FOURTH QUARTER (10:00 remaining)
The Giants struck quickly for another touchdown, thanks to their defense. The Colts' Phillip Tanner took a handoff but was slammed by New York's Justin Anderson. The ball was jarred loose and Spencer Adkins recovered in the end zone. Brandon McManus booted the extra point.Colts 26, Giants 14.
FOURTH QUARTER (3:59 remaining)
Michael Cox leaped over the goal line from the 2 for another New York score. Quarterback Ryan Nassib set up the TD with a 27-yard pass completion to Travis Harvey. Brown added the extra point.Colts 26, Giants 21.
FOURTH QUARTER (55 seconds remaining)
The Giants scored their fourth touchdown of the fourth quarter as Nassib passed four yards to Cory Washington for the TD. Nassib earlier completed passes of 26 and 33 yards to Adrien Robinson. Nassib attempted a two-point conversion pass that fell incomplete. Giants 27, Colts 26.