A day without #18 lining up behind center is like a day without sunshine. Of the 5,484 passes attempted by a Colts passer this decade, 5,312 were attempted by Peyton Manning. In other words, if you watched any pass since the start of 2000, 96.9% of the time Peyton was the one that threw the ball. Of the 3.1% of passes left, all were the result of Peyton either taking a backseat on a trick play or watching from the bench during a game that had no meaning or the late stages of a blowout.
Still, those relatively few passes have meaning to diehard fans like us. As the decade nears its close, we'll take a look back at the seven players beside Peyton Manning who were lucky enough to throw a pass for the blue and white this decade and see who comes out on top.
7. Reggie Wayne
His place as one of the greatest Colts receivers of all-time will never be in question, but you can't do much worse as a quarterback. The interception he threw against the Texans in Week 9 against the Texans is the only pass he has thrown in his career. When you have a career interception percentage of 100, you're going to find yourself at the bottom of just about every passing list you can find.
6. Hunter Smith
He's become quite the offensive force in Washington this season, running in one touchdown and throwing for another. Unfortunately, he didn't have the same success in Indianapolis, despite having more time to work on his passing, since he didn't have to pass too much. In his time here, he only threw one pass and it ended up being an incompletion.
5. Mark Rypien
Like Hunter Smith, Mark Rypien saw his best days as a Redskin. He was in the twilight of his career in 2001 when he signed on as a backup for Peyton Manning. He is most famous for being the player who stepped in for the one play in Peyton's career that he had to sit due to injury. He ended up fumbling that snap, but he had a decent outing in garbage time against the Patriots a few weeks before. In the outing Rypien completed 5 of his 9 passes for 57 yards.
Someone on the opposing team got their first start as a quarterback in the same game, but for the life of me I can't seem to remember who it was.
4. Brock Huard
Huard appeared in two games the Colts won by a combined 65 points in 2003. He completed 2 of his 3 passes for 22 yards. The numbers may not blow you away, but he had no turnovers and also managed 8 rushing yards.
It might take a lot statistically to get on this list, but I'll put Brock Huard's numbers up against JaMarcus Russell's every day.
3. Ken Dilger
In a 2001 game against the Jets, Dilger hooked up with Marvin Harrison for a 39 yard touchdown pass that gave the Colts a lead in the 4th quarter. His efforts would be in vein as Vinny Testaverde led the Jets back down the field to win the game. His perfect completion percentage is nice, but it doesn't take the place of a loss.
2. Jim Sorgi
Years from now when you look up "career backup" in the dictionary, a picture of Jim Sorgi holding a clipboard will accompany the definition. It's only fitting that he ends up as the backup on this list as well.
His shoulder injury and subsequent placement on IR means he won't be able to pad his stats anymore this season once the Colts clinch home-field advantage (All you had to do was put the clipboard in your other hand, Jim! Split the workload 50-50!). Still, his body of work during this decade speaks for itself. In 14 appearances, he's completed 63.5% of his passes, throwing 6 touchdowns and only one interception. Not bad for a career backup.
Every pass he's thrown in the NFL has gone for a game-winning touchdown. It doesn't get any better than that. Why isn't he starting at quarterback?