(Reuters) - Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes to guide the Colts to a 40-24 road win over the New York Giants on Monday and solidify their lead in the AFC South.
The defeat leaves the Giants (3-5) facing the prospect of a third season without playoff action as they fell further behind Philadelphia (6-2) and Dallas (6-3) in the NFC East.
The Colts (6-3) go into their bye week two games clear of Houston (4-5).
Quarterback Luck delivered an interception-free performance and totaled 354 yards through the air, while veteran field goal kicker Adam Vinatieri had a four from four night.
”To get a win is always good, especially on the road on Monday night against a very good Giants team,” Luck told reporters.
”It wasn’t pretty by any means, and there are definitely things we can shore up, but good fight by the guys in a big victory.
“We just buckled down and focused in (the second half) and knew if we could get a touchdown on the first drive that would be big. We just kept rolling and the defense did a heck of a job as well.”
The Giants have now lost three in a row after putting together three consecutive victories.
Two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning threw for two touchdowns and 359 yards but much of his success came late in the game when the Colts were out of sight.
The Colts scored the opening touchdown when Luck hustled off the snap before the Giants could challenge the previous play and passed to Coby Fleener for a 32-yard score.
Vinatieri’s boot helped the visitors to a 16-3 halftime lead and they extended that margin early in the third quarter as T.Y. Hilton scored from 31 yards from another Luck pass.
Andre Williams rushed over from a yard for the Giants to give them some hope of a comeback at 23-10 down, but Luck’s 40-yard scoring pass to Reggie Wayne cemented the Colts’ win.
Indianapolis tacked on another score when Luck threw a two-yard pass to Dwayne Allen and another Vinatieri field goal padded the scoreline to 40-10.
Manning brought the Giants a degree of respectability with scoring passes to Larry Donnell and Corey Washington in the fourth quarter.
Writing by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford