INDIANAPOLIS - Colts fans were ecstatic Monday after the team snatched victory from the favored Green Bay Packers, winning for their ailing coach and helping put Indianapolis back in the spotlight.
Team owner Jim Irsay held up the game ball and wept Sunday night after the Colts' 30-27 shocker, later delivering it to Chuck Pagano, the Colts' first-year coach who was diagnosed with leukemia last week.
"We know what kind of man we have down the street, fighting, fighting for his life, and winning the fight," Irsay said of Pagano. "Everyone in here knows how much that this means, and this ball is going right down the street."
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne won it with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left to complete the Colts' second-half rally from a 21-3 deficit.
Wayne finished with 13 receptions for a career-high 212 yards -- the second-highest total in Colts history behind Hall of Famer Raymond Berry in 1957. And he wore orange gloves instead of the traditional pink ones for breast cancer awareness month, because that's the color for leukemia patients.
"I just wanted to do something, you know, for Chuck," Wayne explained.
Fans hope Sunday's win will restore confidence in the team.
"It was great yesterday. It looked bad in the beginning. We came alive in the second half and won," said fan Ann Meece.
"With that win, it gives people something to look forward to. Obviously, we are doing a whole lot better than last year," said fan Chris Gray. "The sky's the limit. There is only one place to go, and that is up."
The Colts hope that fan support will lead to sell-outs and prevent home games from being blacked out on TV.
"We have great fans and great fan support. Obviously, yesterday's win was fantastic. The fans were great. The stadium was full," said Larry Hall, Colts' ticket manager. "We're hopeful we can sell the remaining tickets for all the games. We do have tickets available for all of our games."