There are a few reasons why Peyton Manning could have his best career game against his former team Sunday night. Eight touchdowns? Don’t put it past him.
Of course Manning wants to prove his old team wrong for letting him walk after four neck surgeries. He’s been on a passing rampage ever since he returned to the field last season (6,838 yards, 59 touchdowns, 13 interceptions in his 22 regular season games as a Bronco). This week, however, he wants to showcase his new neck live and in person.
Mix in some outlandish quotes and Tweets from Colts owner Jim Irsay.
“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Irsay says, flicking up his right hand to show his Super Bowl XLI championship ring.
“(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these,” Irsay adds. “Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.
“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love this.”
Then Irsay flicks up his right hand again. – Jim Irsay via USA TODAY
If there’s one thing Irsay should have learned, it’s that you don’t light a fire under Peyton Manning. Manning had eight months to think about his team’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs. He came back and fired off 462 yards and 7 touchdowns in the win. Manning’s had well over a year to think about the Colts going in a different direction. You think he’s not ready for the game of his life?
Factor in that the Colts’ only two losses this season came when the team struggled in the secondary. They gave up 115 yards and a touchdown to Mike Wallace in their week two loss to the Dolphins. Then they gave up 107 yards and a touchdown to Keenan Allen, a third round draft pick in 2013 for the Chargers.
If they’re giving up yards like that to those guys, there’s no way they can account for Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas.
After so many years playing at Lucas Oil Stadium, we can assume that Manning is still more comfortable there than he is at Sports Authority Field at this point.
Home is where the heart is, and Manning’s heart beats to touchdowns.