Not even Peyton Manning could save the Indianapolis Colts in this game. Last week, we know it wasn’t all his fault. But this week, it was just a struggle and a sign of frustration from the four-time MVP. Manning has been struggling with interceptions, now having nine of them in his last four games and seven in his last two. This is not the type of Manning we are accustomed to. Manning threw two touchdowns, but yet four interceptions, for 285 yards and he also went 31-of-48. He finished with a 59.8 rating. Wow. Manning was 28-33 for 219 yards with two touchdowns and one interceptions and a 101.9 rating on passes of ten yards or shorter. But the passes of eleven-plus yards killed him, as he was three-of-15 for 66 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions, ending with a 5.8 rating.
He has had a bunch of problems against the San Diego Chargers, and the Colts lost again, falling to 6-5 in a 36-14 loss at home. This was the worst loss at home for the Colts in Peyton Manning’s history with the team. The Colts started out the game well, as Manning helped drive down the field with solid passes. He found Jacob Tamme open for the score to put the Colts up seven. The Chargers would drive down the field, but Indy would make a strong red-zone stand to hold the Chargers within three points. It was now 7-3. But Manning would throw an interception right to linebacker Kevin Burnett, and he would take it all the way back for the score, leading to a 10-7 lead. After another pick, the Chargers would be up 16-7. But Manning would help the Colts get back in the game with a touchdown to Blair White to put the Colts within a two-point deficit, 16-14.
After that, the game was over led by more picks by Manning. Mike Tolbert would bull-rush all over the Colts, having 26 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. Phillip Rivers was 19-of-23 for 185 yards with a 100.2 rating. The Colts were shutdown completely in the rushing game, having 14 carries for 24 yards. Javarris James had two carries for zero yards, and helped commit one of the five turnovers on the Colts’ offense, as he fumbled the ball in the third quarter.
The Chargers are now making late strides like they usually do in the season. They started out the year 2-5 and now here they are at 6-5 and are almost within the division lead, only trailing the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
“At 2-5, a lot of teams would have thrown in the towel,” Rivers said. “We’ve got a group of resilient guys, tough guys that really play together and really believe in one another. We weren’t going to let this thing get away from us. Now, we’re right here in the hunt.”
And now the Colts have fallen inside the hunt now with this two-game losing-streak. If the season ended today, the Colts would be out of the playoffs due to the Jacksonville Jaguars loss earlier in the year. The Jags lead the division technically then with a 6-5 record. Indianapolis should be a bit worried now. They will face the much more improved Dallas Cowboys next at home, and if Indy blows it, it’s going to be tough for them to win games. They need to beat Jacksonville and the Tennessee Titans to make the playoffs. So basically, every game is a must-win.
The Colts hope to get their players back next week now with Joseph Addai and Austin Collie. Bob Sanders may be returning sometime in December. Brody Eldridge hopes to make his return as well. The injuries are what really are hurting the Colts. And if they played like they did last night, you can kiss a good-bye to this season. This will be the first season in nearly a decade that the Colts haven’t won twelve games. Now the best they can do is win eleven. Winning at least ten games could help win the AFC South. And once the playoffs roll by, the Colts will be healthy enough to win the games.
“San Diego did a good job,” Manning said. “Offensively, we didn’t do a real good job. I didn’t do a real good job. Everybody needs to play better, I need to play better, our execution needs to improve.”
And it needs to improve next week. The Colts need to go back to being the old Colts. Reggie Wayne struggled, dropping some key passes that could have brought the Colts back in the game. Wayne was hurt towards the end of the game and let’s hope he is ready to go for next week, because losing a guy like Wayne could change the whole year.
“I think all of our guys understand now that you’ve got to protect the ball,” coach Norv Turner said. “You’ve got to be sound in the kicking game and we can’t give up big plays on defense.”
Kelvin Hayden and Wayne, like mentioned earlier, left the game shaken up. Indy needs to get healthy, and fast. They got Manning, where’s the rest of the supporting cast? At 6-5, the Colts need to start winning.
Let’s see what they can show next week.