It was downright painful to watch the Colts be embarrassed by the Saints Sunday night on primetime television. In what was without question their worst performance of the year, and quite possibly their worst performance in franchise history, the once dominant Colts fell by a staggering deficit of 55 points in New Orleans. From start to finish, the Colts were never in the game, and they only managed to score once.
The Horseshoe Hero of Sunday’s game has been the hero all along. It’s the 6’5″, 230 lb quarterback with the laser-rocket arm. It’s the only 4-time MVP in NFL history. It’s the leader, who, in his sophomore season, turned the Colts from a 3-13 team to a 13-3 team.
In my opinion, he’s never been more deserving of an MVP award. The only person deserving of accolades this week, and therefore receiving Horseshoe Hero honors, is #18 himself: Peyton Manning.
As the Colts continue to lose, it’s becoming more and more apparent how much the team has been built around Manning. From the no-huddle offense, to the chemistry with receivers, to keeping the defense well rested and off the field, Peyton Manning controlled virtually everything. Without him, Colts players are like a series of cable wires without a headend: completely disconnected. This was illustrated to a tee in Sunday night’s game when Joe Reitz miscued Jeff Saturday’s snap in the no-huddle, and the football hit an oblivious Curtus Painter directly in the chest, causing a fumble and a consequent turnover.
No other NFL team in history has been so greatly affected by the loss of one player. When Tom Brady missed virtually the entire 2008 season with a left knee injury, the Patriots finished the year with an 11-5 record. When Joe Montana missed the entire 1991 season due to an elbow injury, the 49ers, with two different starting quarterbacks, ended up with a 10-6 record. Going into Week 8, the Colts have already lost more games than both of those teams did the entire season without their star quarterbacks. Whoever said Brady does more with less needs to pay close attention to the 2011 Colts.
Although the Saints are looking like one of the premier teams in the league right now, the Colts have a lot of work to do if they want to beat any team this season and avoid the fate of the 2008 Detroit Lions, who went the entire year without winning a single game. The Colts are learning the hard way that it’s not smart to build a team so much around one player, no matter how special that player is. Sadly, injuries do happen, and even the Peyton Manning Ironman streak can come to an end.
Let’s just hope that Manning can start the streak back up again ASAP!