Playing the Colts in Indianapolis is perhaps the most daunting task in the NFL. The RCA Dome has been a house of horrors for the Broncos the last three times they have played there, including on Sunday.
The Colts are really, really good no matter where a team plays them. But the Colts are special at home.
In many ways, I thought the Broncos played well. They jumped out to a lead. They ran the ball effectively. They came up with some sustained drives. But it wasn’t enough.
There were two areas that stood out to me. The first was rushing defense. The Colts ran for 226 yards. That’s too many but especially so when one then adds Peyton Manning and all his weapons to the mix.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The ability to run the ball and the ability to stop the run are absolutely critical. The Broncos are having major issues stopping the run and until they improve in that area, I think the sledding will be rough.
The other thing that alarmed me was kickoff return coverage. There were a few occasions when the Broncos allowed the Colts to have great field position. More often than not, Peyton Manning will take advantage of that.
That brings me to what a special player Manning is. Guys like this just don’t come around very often. He will go down as one of the best ever, and there will be no asterisk because he didn’t win a Super Bowl. Been there, done that…and it’s looking like there could be another one.
Manning does it all. He is in total control. Need a touchdown drive? No problem. A team might get to him for a period of time, but at some point, he will make the adjustments.
The guy is flat-out amazing. Even with the couple of areas of concern I mentioned a moment ago, the Broncos still played well enough to beat some teams. But against Manning and the Colts, you have to play nearly perfect, and often that isn’t good enough.
No doubt the Broncos have some things to shore up. I’m not sure how realistic it is to do that when a team plays the Colts on their home field. I don’t mean to excuse away a loss. I’m just tipping my cap to the best quarterback in the NFL.
Which quarterback would you pick if you were starting a team? I’ll take Manning, with Tom Brady a close second. I’d love to read what you think.
Tags: Peyton Manning