During the Denver Broncos-Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts – namely Peyton Manning – went through the proverbial roller coaster of ups and downs as he did well early on, played like his brother Eli a bit later before finishing strong. Manning threw two early touchdowns, would proceed to throw some untimely interceptions, then as his custom, lead the Colts on a drive in the fourth quarter. The end result? I think that if you’ve followed the Colts this season, then you probably know. But for those who casually follow the team, Indianapolis held off Denver 28-16 to gain home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Manning commenced the scoring with a 5-yard strike to wide receiver Austin Collie, ending a clock-eating, 80-yard drive; after a Broncos three-and-out, Manning hit paydirt again as he connected with tight end Dallas Clark on a 10-yard TD pass, making it 14-0. Manning would yet again score, this time on a 1-yard TD pass to Clark, making it 21-0 with 7:58 left in the half. But Broncos QB Kyle Orton would hit the scoring column on a 4-yard TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall, making it 21-7.
With Manning struggling, Denver would fight back as they got a 28-yard field goal from kicker Matt Prater early in the fourth quarter to make it 21-10, then an Orton-to-Marshall TD pass of 5 yards made it 21-16 with 9:44 remaining in the game. But Manning, as he typicallt does, guided the Colts down the field on a 14-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard TD pass from Manning-to-Clark (Clark’s 3rd TD catch of the game), putting Indianapolis up for good 28-16.
Several records were broken during the game:
* Indianapolis, with the win, broke the consecutive wins record with their 22nd straight victory (formerly held by New England).
* The Colts have the most wins(114) in a decade (record of 113 was formerly held by San Francisco).
* Brandon Marshall broke the NFL reception record of 20, formerly held by Terrell Owens (21 catches).
* Clark broke his own single-season team tight end records for receptions (82) and yards (902).
* Manning passed Hall of Famer Warren Moon for fourth on the NFL’s yards passing list; Moon had 49,325 yards while Manning now has 49,513.
Speaking of Manning, he went 20-of-42 (definitely un-Manning-like) for 220 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions while Orton went 29-of-41 for 277 yards with 2 TD’s and an INT. Joseph Addai led the Colts rushing attack as he rushed 16 times for 67 yards and leading the Colts receivers with 5 receptions for 49 yards while Mike Hart ran for 28 yards; Knowshon Moreno led all Broncos rushers with 23 carries for 63 yards.
Clark and Reggie Wayne caught 5 balls each for 43 yards, with Clark scoring three times; Brandon Marshall led the Broncos receivers with an NFL-record 21 receptions for 200 yards and 2 TD’s while Jabar Gaffney caught 3 passes for 48 yards. Indianapolis (13-0) plays again on Thursday on the short week when they travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars while Denver (8-5) returns home to host the Oakland Raiders next Sunday.