The win allowed Indianapolis, now 4-4 for the season, to snap a two-game losing streak and stay within shouting distance of the 8-0 Titans in the AFC South race. The Colts are alone in second place in the division after Jacksonville (3-5) and Houston (3-5) both lost. Next up is a road trip to Pittsburgh Sunday.
"(New England) is a tough team to play. I was proud of the effort coming back off a short week," coach Tony Dungy said. "(The Patriots) did a good job running the ball. It was a home game that we needed to win. We had already lost two home games earlier this season. But we've got to put together a streak. We can't have one of these win one and the lose one. We've got a tough game coming up this week."
This week's matchup with the Steelers puts Indianapolis on the back end of a tough series of games, which included meetings with Baltimore, Green Bay, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Cleveland.
"We've got a tough challenge going to Pittsburgh. Playing them is tough. Playing them there makes it even tougher," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "It's important kind of what we do with this. But it's certainly not going to be easier from here on out. We're still banged up.
"Being able to win (over New England), those injuries says a lot about the guys on our team. But we're going to keep fighting. That's all you can do. You've got to stick together. You've got to kind of keep fighting, scratching. It's not going to be easy. It might not be clean at times. But we've got to keep fighting and kind of find a way. But this week is going to be another challenge."
Manning, though, will take a day or two to savor the win over the Patriots.
"This is an important win. It makes us 4-4. We'd rather be 8-0 like the Titans are. Or 7-1 like the Giants. But we're going to keep fighting. Pittsburgh does not care what our record is and nobody cares except us. It will be important if we can build off of this and hopefully get some guys back. Hopefully we can get a few guys back and get healthy at the right time and try to get hot."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a big win. We're going to enjoy it while we can. It's important what we do with this. It's important to get some kind of rhythm or streak established. But we're going to keep fighting. It's not going to be easy and it's not going to be clean at times. You just have to be up for the challenge. But this was an important win. It will be important if we can build off of this." — QB Peyton Manning, on the win over New England.
TRENDING: The Colts, 26th in the league in run defense (allowing an average of 144.1 yards per game), had been showing improvement in stopping the run in recent weeks. Indianapolis struggled a bit against the Patriots, giving up 140 yards on the ground, but did not allow a 100-yard rusher for the second straight game.