Andrew Luck's approach in dealing with his teammates is similar to how he plays the quarterback position. The Indianapolis Colts signal-caller often maintains his composure, rarely allowing anything to get under his skin.

That changed inside the walls of the locker room at LP Field at halftime Thursday.

Luck was frustrated, he was angry and he didn't hold back his feelings from his teammates.

"It was to a whole new level," punter Pat McAfee said. "Normally, he has a calming presence, meaning we know what we have to do to win the game. This was a different Andrew."

Luck had every right to clench his jaws and let loose.

The Colts, a team that has stuck together and fought through adversity on different levels the past two seasons, showed signs in the first half of cracking and possibly falling apart for the first time.

Another slow start and three straight unsportsmanlike penalties by the defense, including a childish head butt by linebacker Erik Walden, had them looking like they'd be in a fight to hold on to first place in the AFC South.

All eyes were on Luck as he spoke, and his message sunk in. The Colts got it together in the running and passing game to take complete control of the division with a 30-27 victory.

"He had that look in his eye," Colts defensive lineman Cory Redding said. "He basically told the team to jump on his back. He really got caught up today when he was talking to us. He challenged everybody to fight and go out there and win this game. You like to hear that from your leader."

The Colts had to win this game. They had too much on the line to lose back-to-back games for the first time with Luck quarterbacking them.

Their image took a substantial hit when they were thoroughly outplayed and embarrassed at home by the St. Louis Rams last weekend, losing 38-8. But more importantly, the Colts' lead in the division would have been down to a game had they lost Thursday. Now they have a three-game advantage with six games remaining.

"This speaks to their character, their mindset," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "They are resilient. They were bound and determined to try to find a way to make amends for the home loss. Everyone was embarrassed, and they wanted to do whatever they could."