INDIANAPOLIS – It was news that no one could have possibly envisioned upon returning to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center after a bye week in late September.
Shockwaves spread across the meeting room when Owner Jim Irsay informed players that their leader Chuck Pagano would not be with them for the immediate future.
Interim head coach Bruce Arians made the decision to leave the light on in Pagano's office on while he was physically absent.
Thanks to the leadership from coaches and veterans, there was zero "woe is me" attitude moving forward.
Instead, the Colts fought back from 21-3 deficit against the Green Bay Packers and turned in a second-half performance that will go down in Lucas Oil Stadium lore.
The Colts slowly clawed their way back into it with a stingy defensive effort and some spectacular offensive performances.
Indianapolis scored 19 unanswered points to begin the second half, taking a 22-21 halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Packers answered to re-take the lead 27-22 but the Colts were not done with quarterback Andrew Luck taking over with 4:30 remaining.
Over the next four minutes Luck and wide receiver Reggie Wayne sparked a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with the Pro Bowl wide receiver stretching his orange-clad gloves across the goal line for a four-yard score.
The touchdown carried out a promise Wayne made earlier in the week to Pagano in delivering a winning game ball to a head coach that was there in spirit.
OFFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT: Over a 13-year NFL season, Reggie Wayne has tuned in some historic games but perhaps none will rival the one he had against the Packers.
Putting everything into perspective, Wayne's career-high 212 receiving yards was in itself a feat but the circumstances he did it under only added to the afternoon to remember
Wayne's orange gloves snared in passes all day with All-Pro cornerback Charles Woodson draped over No. 87.
The final of Wayne's 13 catches went four yards for a touchdown and cemented an afternoon that will certainly be among of the highlights in a Hall of Fame type career.
DEFENSIVE HIGHLIGHT: In coming back from one of the largest deficits in franchise history, it took a complete effort on both sides of the ball.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers got things started when he intercepted Packers All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the first possession of the second half and set up the Colts initial touchdown drive.
From there it was the pass rush that took over with Indianapolis sacking Rodgers five times on the afternoon, which was the most a Colts defense had recorded in over three seasons.
*QUOTE OF THE GAME: *"Chuck has instilled a lot in us. He's a great human being, great coach, great personality, great husband. He identifies the word 'great,' " Wayne said.
"He's come in and he's built his own foundation. He's got everybody playing together. His whole model since day one and the first meeting has been, 'Team, team, team,' nothing else. That's all we practice. That's all we preach. This whole second half it was a team effort."
"This was for Chuck."
INTERESTING FACT:Wayne's 13 catches for 212 yards was the highlight of the afternoon but it was the timeliness of his grabs that were most impressive. On the Colts game winning drive, Wayne caught five passes for 64 of the drive's 80 yards, including his stretch of the football across the goal line to complete the comeback.