If the Indianapolis Colts were to lose this game, they would have to win the rest of their regular season games and hope that the Jacksonville Jaguars would lose one or two of their remaining games. But now, there is no need to worry about that. After a three-game slump, Peyton Manning’s two touchdowns (and zero interceptions!) helped lead the team to a 30-28 thriller over the Tennessee Titans. It was about time the Colts started playing Colts’ football. Manning completed 25-of-35 for 319 yards and a 118.6 rating.
Indianapolis now improves to 7-6 after a three-game losing-streak to the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, and the Dallas Cowboys, all of those games in which Manning “choked” in. But now, the Colts have a chance to win the AFC South again. If the Jacksonville Jaguars lose, both teams would be tied for the division lead. But if the Jags do in fact beat the Oakland Raiders, there is still no need to worry. The Colts got a lot of confidence and a lot of rest for their injured players like Joseph Addai and Austin Collie. And the rest is much-needed as Indy has one-week-and-a-half to rest. If they beat the Jags at home next week, they have the division lead. Thank God they won this one. It’s about time they finally one and Manning is playing like the best ever he is.
“Nobody likes losing three in a row,” Manning said. “That’s new for us. Somebody asked me if we were in a slump. I said, ‘I’ve been on an 8½-year hitting streak.’ ”
Manning got his 63rd 300-yard game, which ties Dan Marino on the all-time list for first place. One more and Manning claims the record, with a bunch more to break. Reggie Wayne played great again, having four catches for 106 yards. The big play the ensured the Colts were back was a huge fade to Wayne as he got down at the ten-yard-line earlier in the first half. Manning almost had a third touchdown in the game, but Blair White got in the way of a potential score to Reggie in the end zone. Along with that, Manning made his trip back to Tennessee, as he was one of the greatest for the Volunteers in his college career. But he never could have gotten that bowl win. But it’s good to be back for Manning, and he is making run.
“I was throwing to Reggie. I can assure you I was throwing to Reggie,” Manning said of the broken-up touchdown. “But like I said, that’s part of the learning process.”
The Colts are back on track to win the AFC South, as they have only lost it twice this past decade but still made the playoffs. They have missed the playoffs only once this past decade when they went 6-10 in 2001. Indianapolis was on pace for a 2001-like season, but now, that is behind. Now they got their minds set on Jacksonville as they have another AFC South showdown.
“I think we’re in a four-game playoffs, and this was a playoff game tonight,” Manning said.
Tennessee started out the year leading the division with a 5-2 record. Since then, they are in last place with a six-game losing-streak. This has been followed by Vince Young and Jeff Fisher tirades along with many other things. This game was the first time they had the same starting quarterback for two straight weeks since October with Young. Since the Young misconception, the Titans were desperate at quarterback, flipping and flopping around with Rusty Smith and Kerry Collins. The Colts played solid, having another big play on special teams as the snap went high over the punter’s head. Taj Smith recovered to the Colts’ red zone. Smith made a big play in the Cowboys game, returning a blocked punt made by him for a touchdown. He made another big play again. You can ensure he will be having a permanent spot on special teams for the year, and maybe even next year as well. Next Kassim Osgood? Probably.
“Every time we play the Colts, it’s been the same thing,” safety Chris Hope said. “By the time we figure out we can play with them and compete with them, we run out of time. It’s been the same story the last few times we’ve played them.
Collins went 28-of-39 for 244 yards with three touchdowns and a 113.6 rating. Collins also had his 200th career touchdown. Chris Johnson had 111 rushing yards on 22 carries with a touchdown. But it wasn’t enough for a win for Tennessee. Tennessee would cut the lead to 21-7 with a Johnson touchdown. Later in the game, the Colts would enlarge their lead to 30-21 off a field goal. The Titans would score to cut the lead to 30-28 later, but with few time remaining, Indianapolis would have a guaranteed victory.
Javarris James is showing that he is one of the best rookie running backs in the league, as he led the Colts with 49 rushing yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. He now has six touchdowns for the year, leading all rookie running backs. Donald Brown had 38 yards on 15 carries. Pierre Garcon played very good, showing that he is one of the premier receivers of Indianapolis, having six catches for 93 yards with two touchdowns in the game.
The Colts are now finally back on track. They look to claim the division with a win over Jacksonville now. It needs to be done.
This is Colts football.