Just as 2+2 =4, the sky is blue, and babies don’t really come from storks, Peyton Manning is going to be a factor in any game he plays in. That’s just a fact of life. It doesn’t matter if he has one hand tied behind his back, if he’s playing in terribly cold weather, or if he only has three receivers suit up for him to throw to, as was the case Sunday against the Broncos. The man is not a mere mortal. He’s a quarterback with all superhero powers combined.
Manning finished the day with 325 yards (89% of the Colts offensive yardage) on 27-43 passing, 3 TDs, and no turnovers. Statistically, this was not his best game of the season by any means, but he did what he was expected to do. In three games, he has 9 TDs and 0 INTs. Converting in the redzone isn’t an issue for the Colts. Thus, their lack of rushing attack hasn’t really been an issue either.
What is difficult to swallow about the loss yesterday is the fact that Kyle Orton had a better game than Manning, but the Broncos still lost 27-13. Orton is 2nd in the league behind Philip Rivers in total passing yards with 1,078. He’s had an incredible year so far, on a personal level. Yet, the Broncos stand 1-2 on the season with a couple of difficult road games to prepare for.
As the Broncos struggled to score touchdowns in the redzone, Hall of Fame running back, Floyd Little, was looking on. He probably wished that he was in the backfield to pick up that 1-yard needed for the Broncos to get into the endzone in the first half. Instead, Laurence Maroney got the call and his falls near the goal line never breached the thick strip of white paint that separates 6 points from 3 points, or in the Broncos case, 0 points.
As usual, the loss cannot be pinpointed on any one aspect of the Broncos game plan. The running game was frustrating to watch, but the Colts actually produced less on the ground than the Broncos. Kyle Orton’s air assault saw better numbers than Peyton Manning’s air attack.
Against the Colts, touchdowns are needed. Not field goals. Thus, Josh McDaniels elected to go for 6 rather than 3 multiple times. There’s no blaming him when the guy across the field is the Man-ning.
When two turnovers led to 10 Colts points in the first half, the offense really cranked the wheels to keep the Colts’ defense guessing. It worked until they got within scoring range.
Denver’s defense was tested by Manning, but they did a nice job of containing him early on. The Colts offense had just 13 points at halftime and the game was still well within reach. Manning threw in Champ Bailey’s direction a few times, attempting to hit favorite wideout, Reggie Wayne. Wayne had 4 receptions for 65 yards with a long of 31. Bottom line is Champ did his job as usual. Filling in for Andre Goodman was rookie, Perrish Cox. For a rookie corner to face Peyton Manning is the ultimate “Welcome to the NFL” statement. Cox had some great pass deflections, but the guy he was covering most of the time, Austin Collie, was the fantasy stud of the week. Collie finished with 12 catches for 171 yards and 2 TDs.
The Broncos won’t face another team this season that is as loaded on one side of the offense as the Colts. They will never face a guy like Peyton Manning, who apparently has his PhD in quarterbacking at the NFL level. They will, however, face a school of teams that has a better defense than the Colts.
Now that the Broncos are on a thin balance beam a Mile-High above sea level, it’s time to counter balance the offense and get the defense to find ways to make stops down the stretch.
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