Peyton Manning's Greatest Games - #6

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Game #6 takes us back to January 11, 2004, where the #3 seed Colts traveled to Kansas City to take on the 13-3 Chiefs, led by my fantasy football workhorse, Priest Holmes.  Peyton Manning had just won his first Playoff game the week before, and (again), nobody was giving him and the Colts any chance to win out in the elements.  Manning decided he'd have one of the best games of his career.

(As an aside real quick, I'm really glad the Colts switched from the blue facemask to the grey one they wear today.  It just doesn't look right.)

Manning and the Colts had 8 possessions on the day:  6 scoring drives, 1 drive that ended the half, and 1 drive where they were running out the clock at the end.  It was an offensive clinic by the Colts, led by #18.  Here's the drive chart:

Plays Yards Time of Poss. 1st Downs Score
10 70 5:40 4 Stokley from Manning, 29 yds
6 76 3:01 4 James 11 yd run
9 71 4:06 5 Lopienski(!) from Manning, 2 yds
3 -14 1:05 0 End of Half
11 51 5:08 3 Vanderjagt 45 yd FG
7 64 3:38 4 Wayne from Manning, 19 yds
10 76 5:21 5 James 1 yd run
8 40 4:14 2 Downs (0:08 left in game)

I have a soft spot for our old FB Tom Lopienski, as I got to see him up close and personal in college.  Not one legitimate drive had less than 2 first downs, and none of the drives took less than 3:00.  Manning controlled the clock throughout the entire game, and it was obvious early on that the team who got a stop on defense would win the game.  David Macklin forced a fumble on the first drive of the second half, which gave Manning and the offense the stop they needed to put the game away.

The Colts were fantastic on 3rd Downs, going 8-11 on the day.  Manning, in particular, was "perfect":

Comp Att Yds Y/A TD INT Rating
7 7 89
12.7
1
0
158.3

All 7 completions resulted in first downs, keeping drives alive.  It was Manning at his best.  His final stat line:

Comp Att Yds Y/A TD INT Rating
22 30 304
10.1
3
0
138.8

A hostile Kansas City crowd, and the Chiefs defense, was no match for Manning and the Colts.  He, again, shut up his critics in his 6th greatest game of his career.

Here is the NFL.com Gamebook:

In Game #5, Manning has a sweet homecoming...

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