Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks off the field after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
The Denver Broncos’ schedule is full of hyped games this season. Whether it was the team opening at home against the Baltimore Ravens, the team they lost to in the playoffs last year, a brotherly duel in the Meadowlands, Peyton returning “home” to Indianapolis, or Mike Shanahan’s return to the Mile High, the Broncos are the hottest ticket in town regardless of where they play.
Each week seems to be a marquee matchup for the Broncos. However, up until this point only the contest against the Colts seemed to put the mental wear and tear on the team, particularly on Peyton Manning.
Manning went 29-for-49 (59.2%) for 386 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in the Broncos’ 39-33 loss. Any quarterback in the league would take that as a “bad game,” but Manning of course holds himself to higher standards.
The thing about his post game press conference that stood out the most was the fact that Manning admitted what a toll this game took on him even before the opening kickoff.
"I felt probably a little tired coming into this week. I am kind of in some ways somewhat relieved that this game is over and I feel like hopefully we will have a chance to play these guys again because that would mean we made the playoffs. We have a long way to go before then but you can certainly see them being in the postseason for sure and if there is a next time, it may be a little bit easier just because it was somewhat of an emotional week and it can be a little bit draining, I will say that. – Peyton Manning"
Manning sounded relieved that this one was over, despite the loss.
The remarkable thing is the Broncos turned the ball over three times, and still had a chance to win the thing at the end.
Too many mistakes cost the Broncos, but the one that stands out most in relation to Manning is the lack of pass protection. Manning was sacked four times Sunday night after being sacked just five times through the team’s first six games. One could make the case that starting right tackle Orlando Franklin’s return to the lineup will be more important than Von Miller’s return was. I digress.
If the Broncos should meet the Colts again in the playoffs, the good thing is this initial meeting is out of the way. Manning can fully get back to the business of winning football games and moving on with his career as a Denver Bronco.