Its official. The baton has been passed. Manning to Luck. A new era has begun, and at the center of it is Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Yesterday was an expected battle, which would most likely be a back and forth offensive battle, with practically the entirety of analysts in the known universe betting on the Broncos. Strangely, those those expectations failed, and Andrew Luck and the Colts shocked the world.
Being an avid Colts fan, I expected many turnovers and mistakes to take place, but I expected Lucks talent to overrule all else. This expectation was also partially incorrect.
The game seemed to be one of fight, with the game tied 7-7. Then the turning point of the game. Colts rush linebacker and rookie Jonathan Newsome beat left tackle Ryan Clady; to strip sack former Colt Peyton Manning. Why was this the turning point? It changed the momentum, and the Colts never turned back. On the ensuing drive, the Colts scored on a pass to a Dwayne Allen that was practically being hugged by frustrated corner Aqib Talib.
Denver caught the Colts on the wrong night. Every part of the Colts defense was clicking. They held Denver to 288 total yards of offense, deflected 7 passes, gave Peyton Manning 27.9 QBR, and held Colts-killer Julius Thomas to a lowly 53 yards. Oh and Denver scored 1 touchdown, the ENTIRE game.
Hakeem Nicks made his mark on the game with yet another great late game catch, this one for a touchdown on a bullet pass from Andrew Luck.
Maybe the most impacting performance of all Sunday, was the Colts offensive line. Which was quite unexpected, considering the injuries to Gosder Cherilus and Jonathan Harrison and extreme inconsistency of Hugh Thornton; the o-line playing well doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The biggest suprise was Colts left tackle Joe Reitz. Earlier this year he had a few bad games, in his worst against Jacksonville he allowed 4 sacks in the first quarter. Since then hes been a pretty decent help, and yesterday he played very well. Shockingly they allowed NO SACKS yesterday.
Peyton Manning went 26/46 on passes Sunday, and seemed to struggle hitting wide open wide receivers down field. In fact it seemed painful to watch Manning try to loft a ball downfield. The torn quad, and his age a showing, and it does not look good. After the game when asked about retirement he stated “I just cant give that simple answer, I cant say right now”. When Peyton is unsure about something, its likely that he may be done, and I cant blame him.
The Colts will play the New England Patriots next Sunday in Foxborough for the AFC Championship. Andrew Luck has never beaten the Pats. In fact, he hasn’t come within 3 touchdowns in any matchup. I expect things to be a lot closer, and far more interesting.