Indy veterans hope to slow down Manning's Broncos

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-17 15:10

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne have seen Peyton Manning's high-flying act.

As longtime teammates, they played a part in Manning's gaudy stats, record-breaking quests and even the distracting pursuits of perfection.

This week, as outsiders, they will put all that inside knowledge to use as Andrew Luck and the Colts try to derail Manning and the unbeaten Broncos.

''You've got try to rattle him as much as you can,'' Mathis said.

It's never been easy for a veteran team like the Patriots to do, and it won't be any simpler for Luck's young Colts (4-2), who have never been through a week quite like this.

Manning's return to Indy has been hyped 24/7, helped along by Denver coach John Fox's criticism and the ensuing media outcry over comments made by Colts owner Jim Irsay - comments that were virtually identical to what he had been saying for months. There has been curiosity over how long and exactly what the Colts will do to honor Manning during pregame festivities. And, of course, everyone wants to know what will be going through Manning's masterful mind as he suits up in Lucas Oil Stadium's visiting locker room for the first time.

''For me to predict, I just can't give you an answer,'' Manning said, a tactful attempt to deflect attention from himself. ''I guess I'll know a little more after the game.''

What Wayne and Mathis know better than most is how good Manning can be.

Nobody has thrown more touchdown passes through six games (22) and no quarterback since 1950 has produced more double-digit winning streaks. Manning has officially done it five times, six when counting the four-game playoff run that led to his only Super Bowl title, a string the league does not count.

Denver's 17-game winning streak is tied for the fourth longest in NFL history.

Not long ago, Manning was doing all this in Indy.

Colts fans remember his record-breaking 2004 season with 49 TD passes, and Mathis and Wayne played key roles in Indy's league-record 23-game winning streak led by Manning in 2008-09. They were also around for the 13-0 start in 2005 when Indy's average winning margin was 16.3 points.

It's different this time.

Manning's Broncos (6-0) are on pace to shatter the NFL's single-season scoring record and, fair or not, many will watch Sunday night's game to see whether Luck can live up to the standards Manning established.

But if Mathis and Wayne learned anything from Manning, it's this: forget the sideshows.

''It's a big game to us just because every game is a big game. We're coming off a loss. We really feel like we didn't display our talents the way we should have last week,'' Wayne said. ''We get another opportunity to change that over, to kind of change some thoughts in people's minds. ... I'm just ready to play.''

Here are five things to watch Sunday night:

HEAD GAMES: Manning's ability to call plays at the line of scrimmage is second to none. Wayne, Mathis and Antoine Bethea saw Manning do it in practice and on games days for nearly a decade. Colts coach Chuck Pagano plans to take advantage of that expertise this weekend, but it's unclear how much it will help. Wayne told reporters this week that his insights would be irrelevant because Manning would ''change it anyway.'' But watching the mind games between Manning and his ex-teammates should be one of the night's more intriguing matchups.

NO. 1 vs. NO. 1: The Luck-Manning showdown will be the feature attraction of Week 7, and with good reason. This is the first time in the common draft era that two quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall by the same franchise played for that team and later met in a game. John Elway and Jeff George were also taken No. 1 overall by the Colts and squared off four times, but Elway was traded to Denver without ever playing for the Colts. Manning and Luck also happen be two of the league's best.

KEEPING UP WITH THE BRONCOS: Denver's 44.2 points per game translates into more than 700 points over the 16-game schedule. At that rate, most opponents will be forced into playing catch-up. The trick for Indy will be controlling the ball. As the Colts have repeatedly said, they want this team to be more balanced between run and pass, and the addition of Trent Richardson should help that transformation. If the Colts control the clock, they could control the game.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS: Everybody knows about Manning's late-game heroics. But Luck has been every bit as good since coming into the league last season. His seventh fourth-quarter comebacks in 2012 set a rookie record and were tied for the most by any quarterback since 1970. Luck has produced two more fourth-quarter rallies this season, and this time he's getting some help from the defense, which has allowed just 13 points in the fourth quarter of the first six games.

HOME, SWEET, HOME: Indy has traditionally been one of the league's best home teams, and Luck has only added to the reputation by going 9-2 since last season. But Manning has been every bit as comfortable at Lucas Oil Stadium, which many credit him for getting the funding to build. Manning was 19-5 at the retractable-roof stadium from 2008-10, and until last season, one of the Manning quarterbacks had won in Indy every season since 1998 (Eli won the Super Bowl in Indy after the 2011 season when Peyton sat out the year).

Could it happen this weekend? Stay tuned.


AP NFL website: http://pro32.ap.org/poll

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julio JonesOct 13 12:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring, toe) is expected to play Thursday, Oct. 15, against the New Orleans Saints, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Josh JohnsonOct 13 12:22p

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Colts) was signed to the Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Le'Veon BellOct 13 01:22a

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell carried 21 times for 111 yards and the game-winning touchdown with no time left in regulation in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers [ More ]

Philip RiversOct 13 01:12a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers completed 35 of his 48 pass attempts for 365 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 5 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Oct. 12.

Antonio GatesOct 13 01:12a

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates posted game highs with nine receptions, 92 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday, Oct. 12.

Antonio BrownOct 13 01:12a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown had three receptions for 45 yards in the Week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 12. He was targeted six times.

Steve JohnsonOct 12 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Craig Mager, DL Darius Philon, RB Donald Brown, OT King Dunlap, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, LB Tourek Williams inactive for Week 5.

B. RoethlisbergerOct 12 07:12p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared LB Anthony Chickillo, QB Ben Roethlisberger, OG Chris Hubbard, CB Cortez Allen, DL Daniel McCullers, TE Jesse James, LB Ryan Shazier inactive for Week 5.

Julio JonesOct 12 07:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring, toe) did not participate in practice Monday, Oct. 12.

B. RoethlisbergerOct 12 06:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) wants to play in the Week 6 game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers have not ruled out the possibility of Roethlisberger playing but consider it a longshot.

Justin ForsettOct 12 06:02p

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) avoided a high-ankle sprain in a Week 5 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Head coach John Harbaugh said Forsett could still play this week.

Jamaal CharlesOct 12 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles' (knee) MRI confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament, according to a source. Charles will likely miss the rest of the season.

Peyton ManningOct 12 05:32p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning won't be benched in favor of QB Brock Osweiler, according to head coach Gary Kubiak. 'No. Peyton is doing just fine.'

S. RichardsonOct 12 04:02p

New York Jets DE Sheldon Richardson was officially added to New York's active roster Monday, Oct. 12. TE Wes Saxton was waived.

Jordan ReedOct 12 03:52p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion, knee, ankle) has shown some improvement but is still going through the concussion protocol, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Joe HadenOct 12 03:52p

Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden (concussion) is expected to miss Week 6 against the Denver Broncos due to concussion protocol.

Blake BortlesOct 12 03:22p

Updating previous reports, Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' (shoulder) sprained his throwing shoulder Sunday, Oct. 11, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is uncertain if Bortles will be able [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 12 03:12p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown (ankle) suffered an ankle sprain in a Week 5 win against the Baltimore Ravens. He is hopeful he'll be able [ More ]

Marques ColstonOct 12 03:02p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston (shoulder) has at least a separated shoulder and could have some structural damage in the shoulder, according to a source. Colston suffered the [ More ]

Antone SmithOct 12 03:02p

Free-agent RB Antone Smith (Falcons) signed with the Chicago Bears Monday, Oct. 12. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Jacquizz RodgersOct 12 02:52p

Chicago Bears RB Jacquizz Rodgers (arm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct.12, because of a fractured arm.

Dwight FreeneyOct 12 02:32p

Free-agent LB Dwight Freeney (Chargers) signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals Monday, Oct. 12, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 12 02:22p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is dealing with a hamstring injury, but the team hopes he will be able to practice on at least a limited [ More ]

Marshawn LynchOct 12 02:02p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) should be able to play in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers if he doesn't suffer any setbacks this week, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Blake BortlesOct 12 02:02p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) likely will not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 14, but that should not indicate his status for the Week 6 game against the [ More ]

Blake BortlesOct 12 01:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (shoulder) suffered a Grade 1 shoulder sprain during the team's Week 5 game and his status will be updated later in the week, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Charcandrick WestOct 12 12:52p

Kansas City Chiefs RBs Charcandrick West and Knile Davis both expect to split carries with RB Jamaal Charles (knee) expected to miss the rest of the season, and head [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 12 12:52p

Indianapolis Colts QBs Andrew Luck (shoulder) and Matt Hasselbeck (illness) both practiced in full Monday, Oct. 12, according to head coach Chuck Pagano. Luck missed the last two weeks [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 12 11:22a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford will remain the starting quarterback, despite being benched in Week 5 Sunday, Oct. 11.

Josh JohnsonOct 12 11:12a

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 12.

Dez BryantOct 12 10:22a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) had bone marrow stem cells removed from his hip and injected into his ankle last week to help improve the healing process. The [ More ]

Matt CasselOct 12 02:02a

Dallas Cowboys QB Matt Cassel could get a chance in Week 7 after the team's bye, as head coach Jason Garrett said Sunday, Oct. 11, he will evaluate a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group