Colts coach Tony Dungy was delighted to see the Colts' trademark character come out in the hostile Metrodome after a first game that would have shaken the confidence of a lesser team.
"We had a lot of things go wrong for us, a lot of things we didn't do well in the first half, but I didn't detect anybody hanging their heads or giving up."
No one could blame the Vikings for hanging their heads after this one. Behind the magnificent running of Adrian Peterson (29 carries for 160 yards), the Vikings dominated most of the contest.
But Peterson couldn't win the game himself, and their fate was sealed when Ryan Longwell missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter.
It seemed as if everyone in the building knew Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could not lead his team to victory at that point.
In perhaps the best argument ever that passer rating can be misleading, Jackson's was better than the Colts' Peyton Manning (73.3 to 72.6).
While Manning played without his tight end and center for all of the game and his left tackle for most of the game, he faced a fierce pass rush and coverages designed to stop him. Jackson, meanwhile, benefited from an incredible running game and a defense that played eight or nine in the box on virtually every snap.
Yet Jackson was inept at every critical point of the game. He oversaw an offense that converted 2 of 13 third-down attempts and failed to score a touchdown despite six possessions that ended inside the Indianapolis 40.
In his first home game of the season in which he was supposed to come of age, Jackson was booed by Vikings fans.
Asked if he was distressed about the passing game, Vikings coach Brad Childress said, "I'm not wild about it. ... You have to make routine plays routinely, whether it's catching the football or sticking on open guys. You have to do that."
Childress said Jackson will remain the starter next week against Carolina. But if Jackson continues to play like he did Sunday, they will be calling for Gus Frerotte before long.
Manning still appeared a bit out of sync after missing all of training camp and preseason. But he made the plays that defined the game.
Trailing 15-0 late in the third quarter, Manning began the turnaround by hitting Anthony Gonzalez (nine catches for 137 yards) with a deep pass. Just as Gonzalez was being tackled, he lateraled to Reggie Wayne, who took the ball to the Vikings' 1-yard line. The play covered 75 yards, and the Colts scored on a 1-yard run by Joseph Addai three plays later.
Then in the fourth quarter, Manning found Wayne for a 32-yard touchdown. Dominic Rhodes scored on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt to tie the score at 15.
And then, on the final drive, Manning and Wayne hooked up again for a 20-yard completion that set up Adam Vinatieri's game-winning 47-yard field goal.
Manning did it all without much help. The Vikings' outstanding run defense held the Colts to 1.3 yards per rush. In two weeks Indy has run for a total of 78 yards.
"Our running game - it's hard to call it a running game right now," said Manning, who called for the team to get the ball to Addai in space more next week. "We're pretty one-dimensional."
It's clear neither the Colts nor the Vikings - two teams some thought could meet in the Super Bowl - are clicking at the moment.
Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney agreed his team remains a work in progress.
"We are still trying to get the rhythm for our offense, defense and special teams," he said.
And as for the Vikings, they are sure to be reminded by Childress that the 2001 Patriots started 0-2 - before winning the Super Bowl.
"The last time I checked, they're not going to crown anybody king after one game or after two games," Childress said. "That's why we press on."