2014 DRAFT GUIDE
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

Adrian PetersonApr 23 05:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson may not be in the Dallas Cowboys' plans after all, according Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson said the Cowboys have not spoken to the Vikings regarding Peterson.

Demaryius ThomasApr 23 03:32p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas has decided not to participate in offseason workouts because he does not want to suffer an injury, but general manager John Elway does not [ More ]

Will HillApr 23 03:12p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent FS Will Hill signed his tender offer Thursday, April 23, according to sources. Hill received a one-year deal worth $1.54 million.

Andre EllingtonApr 23 03:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington's (foot) injured foot is about 95 percent healed, and Ellington has not suffered any setbacks, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

M. Jones-DrewApr 23 02:22p

Free-agent RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders) will sign a one-day deal to retire as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars next Tuesday, April 28. He played nine seasons and rushed [ More ]

Victor CruzApr 23 02:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) said he believes that he will be ready to play in the season opener next season and play like he did before he suffered the injury.

Justin TuckerApr 23 01:52p

Baltimore Ravens restricted free-agent PK Justin Tucker has signed his one-year tender offer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bear PascoeApr 23 12:52p

Free-agent TE Bear Pascoe (Falcons) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Thursday, April 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sam BradfordApr 23 01:53a

The Philadelphia Eagles and QB Sam Bradford have yet to make significant progress on a contract extension sparking speculation the quarterback might be traded again, although head coach Chip [ More ]

Brandin CooksApr 22 11:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks (knee) spent time training together with QB Drew Brees during the offseason in San Diego. 'Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, [ More ]

Greg JenningsApr 22 06:13p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Philip RiversApr 22 05:33p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers may be losing faith in the organization, according to NFL Network analyst and former Chargers' RB LaDainian Tomlinson. 'The parts around him keep [ More ]

Jacques McClendonApr 22 04:13p

Free-agent OG Jacques McClendon (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Wednesday, April 22.

Adrian PetersonApr 22 02:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not expected to be traded by the Vikings unless the team is overwhelmed by an offer from another team, according to a source. [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 22 02:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said he is not participating in voluntary workouts because he is spending time with his newborn child. Brown said he will report to offseason [ More ]

Marvin LewisApr 22 11:33a

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year extension Wednesday, April 22. He's under contract through the 2016 season.

S. RichardsonApr 21 05:23p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Shaquille Richardson (undisclosed) was released Tuesday, April 21, with a failure to disclose physical condition designation.

Adrian PetersonApr 21 01:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson remains a candidate to be traded, and a source close to the situation believes that if he isn't traded before or during the 2015 [ More ]

Dennis PittaApr 20 06:52p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) is participating in the team's voluntary conditioning program that started Monday, April 20. Pitta's career remains in doubt after fracturing his right hip [ More ]

Prince AmukamaraApr 20 05:22p

New York Giants CB Prince Amukamara (biceps) said he's about 90% recovered from a torn biceps he suffered last season.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 05:02p

Updating a previous item, free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) signed a contract to officially retire with the Arizona Cardinals.

Tim TebowApr 20 03:52p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) officially signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 20 01:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is not in attendance for the start of the team's offseason workout program Monday, April 20, according to league sources. However, Peterson hasn't attended [ More ]

Antonio BrownApr 20 11:02a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is seeking a new contract and could hold out from minicamps and training camp, according to sources.

Adrian WilsonApr 20 07:22a

Free-agent SS Adrian Wilson (Bears) is expected to retire Monday, April 20, and join the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff. The Cardinals, the team Wilson played for from 2001-2012, have announced a press conference.

Tim TebowApr 19 07:42p

Free-agent QB Tim Tebow (Patriots) is expected to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, April 20.

Stefen WisniewskiApr 18 01:02p

Free-agent C Stefen Wisniewski (Raiders) signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, April 18. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Ryan JensenApr 17 05:02p

Baltimore Ravens exclusive rights free-agent TE Phillip Supernaw, SS Brynden Trawick, CB Rashaan Melvin and OT Ryan Jensen re-signed with the team Friday, April 17. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonApr 17 12:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said earlier this week that he's not sure if he'll participate in the team's offseason program. Minnesota is set to start their offseason workouts [ More ]

Adrian PetersonApr 16 03:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will not receive any further suspension after he is reinstated from the commissioner's exempt list, according to a source.

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ 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