Posted: Monday October 30, 2006 3:01PM; Updated: Monday October 30, 2006 5:21PM
Peyton Manning leads the NLF with a 108.0 passer rating.
Peter Read Miller/SI
Do you realize the Colts gave up 180 yards rushing -- in the second half alone -- and still won at Denver? That's how good Manning and the Colts offense were. So good that the Broncos could churn out 227 yards on the ground, get Plummer's best game of the season and still have their 13-game regular-season home winning streak snapped.
Tell me again how the Colts were doomed in the wake of running back Edgerrin James bolting for Arizona in free agency? I heard that line of thinking all offseason, and I refuted the notion every chance I got. To repeat: If the Colts don't finally win it all this year, it won't be because of a James-less running game.
Rookie first-round pick Joseph Addai has emerged as fine replacement for James, just as some of us expected he would. Addai ran 17 times for 93 yards (5.5 average) against Denver, and added 37 more yards on five receptions. No, he's not going to match James' 1,500-yard seasons, but the Colts don't need him to do so in order to win.
As for James -- who found money but not happiness in the desert -- he's missing the Colts a lot more than the Colts are missing him.
Exactly how did the Titans hold Manning and the Colts to 14 points in Tennessee's 14-13 Week 5 loss in Indianapolis? In retrospect, that might have been the coaching job of the year turned in by Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
The Broncos blitzed Manning seven times Sunday but never so much as breathed on him, finishing sackless on the game. And no, there were no Elvis sightings. Broncos rookie pass rusher Elvis Dumervil entered play with five sacks in the past three games -- he was inactive in Denver's first three games -- but was no factor against Manning, totaling only one tackle on the day.
Denver might want to start trying something different in coverage against Colts receiver Reggie Wayne. Indy's No. 2 receiver (1A, maybe?) had 10 catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns (plus a key two-point conversion) on Sunday. In Indy's 49-24 dismantling of Denver in the 2004 playoffs, Wayne also caught 10 passes, for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Maybe it's time to move Champ Bailey from Marvin Harrison's side of the field to Wayne's.
I just can't get over this statistic: The Colts have now won 28 regular-season games in a row in which either a playoff berth or their playoff seeding was on the line. In other words, toss out the garbage games they played late in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, when their playoff seed was already determined, and they haven't lost a meaningful regular-season game since Week 8of 2004.