INDIANAPOLIS — With their backs against the wall, the Indianapolis Colts responded — again.
The Colts went into the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium and pummeled the host Minnesota Vikings, 34-6, on Sunday, putting forth an all-around effort not seen by the team so far this season.
A week after a very deflating loss to the Houston Texans — a win for Indianapolis and it would be in control in the AFC South Division — the Colts had to win on Sunday against the Vikings to even have a small shot at continuing to contend for a late-season playoff push.
They knew it wouldn't be easy, however. The Vikings came into the game with one of the top defenses in the league, was returning running back Adrian Peterson and feature some of the best returners in the NFL on special teams.
Indianapolis (7-7) countered by stifling every single one of those strengths for Minnesota (7-7), however. By halftime, the Colts led 27-0; they'd cruise the rest of the way.
Now, the Colts have a short turnaround before they travel to Oakland to take on the playoff-bound Raiders on Saturday. Indianapolis, again, needs to win the game to remain in slight playoff contention, and needs help from others against the Texans and Tennessee Titans, as well.
But before officially moving on to that Raiders matchup, let's take a look at the Top 10 quotes from the Colts' victory over the Vikings:
• "We believe in our guys. Our guys believe in themselves. We've got great character in that locker room. We've got great leadership. Nobody thought the O-line was going to come and do the job that they did. They all got game balls. Those guys manned up, and they did one heck of a job against a really good defense, the number two defense in the National Football League." — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, on coming back from last week's tough loss to the Texans and getting a big win with multiple reserves on the offensive line.
• "We had that mindset that can go into the toughest of places and win and win these tough games. We just have to be consistent with that mindset. It's a great win, and we're going to need some luck — and it was unfortunate those (AFC South opposing) teams didn't come through for us — but there's nothing else we can do but to keep trucking and keep winning." — Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, on getting the win in Minnesota and moving forward the final two games of the season.
• "We managed to establish a rhythm early with the run and pass. We work our butts off every week to come up with a great plan and we prepared, practiced and came out and executed. We got the fast start we wanted. We got a good finish to the half and a fast start to the second half. It all seemed to work out. It was a great team victory on special teams and defense, a lot of turnovers created." — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, on the offense being able to maintain a rhythm throughout the win against the Vikings.
Highlights from the Colts win over the Vikings!
• "When you have a guy like AP (Adrian Peterson) or, even when I was in a division with Marshawn (Lynch), you get up for it. I love competition." — Colts running back Frank Gore, who posted the second 100-yard rushing performance of his Colts career in the win over Minnesota.
• "We did a lot of executing. I'm not going to short us on what we did today. We did a heck of a job on all three phases and I'm very proud of my guys." — Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, asked if he saw the Vikings getting increasingly frustrated during Sunday's game.
• "I don't know what it is. We just love playing on the road. We just go out and play hard. We just have to continue that the next week when we go to Oakland. We need continue to go out there." — Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on what he took out of Sunday's game for the rest of the season.
• "They did their thing. We were chilling. We were not out there that much. That's a good and a bad thing sometimes. Sometimes we want to be out there a little bit more. It's cool, the offense is out there scoring points. It's a team sport. Offense does their job. Defense does their job." — Colts defensive tackle Zach Kerr, asked about the performance of his team's offense on Sunday.
• "First touchdown of my life. I wish I could explain it. But it was a great call, and I'm just thankful that 12 looked my way. The coverage was perfect and I just tried to do something with it." — Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox, who scored his first-career touchdown on a 27-yard reception in the second quarter of Sunday's win. Swoope had never played organized football prior to signing with Indianapolis in 2014.
• "It's amazing when you have that feeling; you just know everybody's playing all the way through. We've been with our backs against the wall — we don't like how that feels. We like to attack. We don't go out there anticipating nothing; we just know everybody's got each other's back, and we're flying around. Whoever's got the ball, he's going to get hit. And that's how we like to play." — Colts inside linebacker Edwin Jackson, on the performance by the defense in Sunday's win over the Vikings.
• "The offensive line. Plain and simple. I mean, those guys a great job today. Pushed guys off of the ball, opened up some great holes, finishing, their blocks at the end of the play — I mean, if you want to talk about playing to the whistle, offensive line did a great job of doing that today." — Colts running back Robert Turbin, asked how he was able to score two touchdowns in the game against Minnesota.