This season, Colts fans emotions have turned from delight to shock as they stare liked a dazed deer at the outcome of games. The Colts, a team of talented players led by champion quarterback Peyton Manning, began the season with almost guaranteed success. Now they find themselves tumbling into oblivion, falling short of its NFL record streak of consecutive 12-win seasons.
Colts fans expected difficulty with the Cowboys, Eagles, and Patriots, but never considered losing all four games as an option. It is now Week 15 and the positions have flipped in the AFC South as the Colts trail the Jaguars by one game with just three left in this season. No longer are the Colts the dream team of the division. Unfortunately, they have been replaced by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Colts have controlled the division for the past 10 years, but now they cannot guarantee even a playoff spot unless they re-energize and beat the Jaguars on Sunday. At this time the Colts’ main concern will be the effect their defense will have against the Jaguars and their excellent quarterback David Garrard, who is capable of moving around better than most QBs.
Even though the Colts haven't performed as expected this year, to many they are still the preferred team. This is because of one man: Peyton Manning. No matter which way you look at it, Manning captivates the audience and keeps them entranced throughout the game. Even though he’s thrown 15 interceptions, Manning’s often flawless, machine-like performances throughout his career have kept him in favor with Colts fans and probably all football enthusiasts.
Manning’s present problems are not enough to steer his loyal fans away from the Colts. On the contrary, they feel energized by last Thursday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans. Manning was unbeatable (25 of 35 for 319 yards, 2 TDs and zero interceptions). Sunday’s face-off with the Jaguars, who have troubled the Colts in the past, will tell it all for this season.
The many injuries Colts players suffered this season have pushed inexperienced players into essential roles, creating more pressure than ever for Manning to perform. Even with this year’s poor play, Manning is still the man to be reckoned with, the man who can pull it off and make the Colts a winner this year.
Just as Super Bowl winner Trent Dilfer, an ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback, commented “I watched the mechanics [of Manning] and ball speed and all that stuff,” Dilfer said. “There’s nothing. There’s not one iota of drop-off.”
Manning is still a superhero to many. This week’s game against the Jaguars is not a write-off. The Colts may yet smell success and bring home an unexpected victory.