“I enjoyed it to the utmost,” said Mathis, who celebrated with rolling flips in the end zone. “Never take it for granted because it is such an accomplishment. It’s just still unbelievable. Just happy to have it.”
The special teams chipped in with three Vinatieri field goals, including one set up by a 51-yard punt return by Whalen.
But the offense provided the fireworks early.
Indianapolis drove 80 yards on its opening drive, converting on all three third-down chances before Luck found Whalen down the seam in the end zone.
Luck added a nine-yard touchdown to Trent Richardson on a shovel pass midway through the second quarter, but he wasn’t taking much credit for it.
“I don’t know if I deserve a touchdown pass,” said the quarterback, who finished 19-of-32 for 180 yards with the two scores and an interception.
“It’s more a touchdown run, but I’ll take it. Great job by Trent finding the end zone and the O-line making it work.”
The Colts started their sixth different combination of the season on the offensive line and lost right guard Joe Reitz early on. Mike McGlynn moved over to center in place of injured Samson Satele, and rookie left guard Hugh Thornton returned after a one-week absence.
Reitz left in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by undrafted rookie Xavier Nixon, who had been working as a swing tackle and never took a snap as a guard at the University of Florida.
The reshuffled line surrendered just one sack and paved the way for 152 rushing yards. Richardson accounted for a season-high 64 yards on 19 carries and added 38 yards on four receptions.
Richardson was a replacement himself after starter Donald Brown left early with a stinger.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job today,” Richardson said. “The wide receivers did a really good job today and tight ends. As a group, as an offensive unit, we did a really good job today.”