INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts' foot is firmly on the gas pedal.
The Colts on Sunday won their second straight game — for the first time all season — by defeating the Tennessee Titans, 24-17, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Most importantly, Indianapolis (5-5) overtook Tennessee (5-6) for second place in the AFC South Division standings, and, after the Houston Texans lost on Monday night to the Oakland Raiders, the Colts find themselves just one game out of first place in the division.
Indianapolis got the job done on Sunday with its strongest start of the season — scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions — and hung on with a strong finish as Tennessee tried to lodge a furious comeback attempt.
In the end, Clayton Geathers' huge tackle for no gain on 4th and 1 gave the ball back to the Indy offense. One first down later, and the Colts were in the victory formation.
Now, the Colts have a very quick turnaround before the Pittsburgh Steelers come to Lucas Oil Stadium for Thursday's Thanksgiving Night showdown.
With so little time to prepare for the game — as well as recover from Sunday's game against the Titans — the Colts coaches and players will lean on lots of film study and mostly non-contact walkthrough practices over the next couple days.
But before getting the turkey ready or whippin' up those mashed potatoes, let's check out the Top 10 quotes from the Colts' victory over the Titans:
• "Just what Coach Pagano did all week, I thought, was great, how he instilled with the team, the best way to honor this team, the 2006 team that's there and all those guys that were there on that sideline, was to play Colts football, and to win the football game. And, you know, we really did — we came out like a house afire and, you know, we won the game." — Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, on the team's approach knowing Sunday's game was also the 10th anniversary celebration of the Colts' Super Bowl XLI championship squad.
• "Huge. We haven't done it. It has been a long time. Every team is different; every season is different. You have a lot of young guys on this football team and you have to learn how to win and you have to learn how to be consistent and how to stack wins and handle success and all those kinds of things." — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, on the significance of the team winning a second straight game for the first time all season.
• "If I told you, I'd have to kill you, and it wasn't how we drew it up." — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, joking with reporters who asked about the wildcat flanker pass play in which Luck was originally lined up out wide, running back Frank Gore took the snap, and then tossed it back to Luck, who threw it back to a wide-open Gore for a 49-yard gain late in the first quarter.
• "We just want to play, like I said early on. There are a lot of close games we thought we could have won. But you know the ball just didn't go our way. Right now, we have to keep champing at the bit." — Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, asked if the team's struggles have fueled its successes the past few weeks.
• "I hate to say you have to expect things because you have to expect ebbs and flows by the game. Things don't go your way for 60 minutes. When they don't, you've got to be ready to withstand the pressure. Do your job. Get up, stop the bleeding. Whatever you want to call it. But I thought we did a great job of slowly but surely stacking those stops on defense and creating more opportunities for our offense." — Colts inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, on how the momentum swung Tennessee's way after the Colts got out to a 21-point lead.
• "There's always something new in the NFL, there's always a new defense, a new challenge. To keep defenses and defensive coordinators on their toes, I think we have the best coordinator in the league and best coaching staff in the league. No matter what they call, it's our job and responsibility to execute them the best we can." — Colts center Ryan Kelly, on the tweaks to the Colts' offensive playbook, and how fun those plays are to run.
• "They're a hell of a tandem. We knew that all 11 hats were going to have to get to the ball, whether it was a pass or a run. We were able to study film, prepare all week and come out and execute today." — Colts defensive tackle David Parry, on the Marcus Mariota/DeMarco Murray tandem at quarterback and running back for the Titans. Parry notched his second sack of the season in the game.
• "Ball was flying good for a long time. I had a little hiccup right there, and I guess we're one in a row now." — Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, whose NFL record streak of 44 straight converted field goals was snapped when he missed a 42-yard field goal Sunday. He later converted another field goal try, however.
• "We told each other at the beginning of the week, 'Hey, I'm going to trust you to stay in your gap, I'm going to trust me to stay in my gap, and we're going to run in pursuit of the ball." — Colts inside linebacker Edwin Jackson, on the Colts defense's mission to stay gap-sound against a talented Titans offense. Jackson also had a sack on Sunday.
• "Mariota, man — one of the rising stars. He's going to be in this division a long time, so it's just something we're going to have to deal with. But you've gotta give them credit — their O-linemen are playing well; today we just wanted to make some plays and be effective and effect the quarterback, and we were able to do that today." — Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden, on limiting the Titans' offense — and also earning his career-best eighth sack of the season in the winning effort.