The biggest question in Indy this week has been: Was it really Manning's fault or was he talking the fall for somebody else?
Manning has not changed his stance, though teammates clearly have a different opinion about what happened.
"It's definitely one of those deals that happens and everybody on the field could have done something better," Tamme said Wednesday. "I think you look at yourself first and that's what everybody on this team does."
And it's made Manning a little edgy.
Peyton's 'edgy' behavior boiled over this week in a phone conference with journalists, including Kevin Acee od San Deigo's Union-Tribune. Acee asked a question that referenced the fact that the Chargers have won four out of five with the Colts since 2005. Acee recalls the exchange:
I started things off Wednesday by pointing out the Chargers were 4-1 against the Colts since 2005 and mentioning the teams played another close game in 2004. Given that, I asked Manning if the Chargers had worked their way into being a rival.
"Since ’05, is that a monumental year or something?" Manning said.
Perhaps the question could have been asked more specifically, even succinctly. But when a guy answers the phone as friendly as Mr. Rogers and you admire him as a competitor and figure he’s going to show some respect for a team that has made him look pedestrian a good portion of the time (and you know he knows that), you presume he’s going to be as professional on the phone as he is in his myriad commercials.
Still figuring he was cool enough to go along with the line of questioning, I gave him the ’04 victory and lowered the Chargers’ record against him to 4-2.
"It’s a preparation thing," Manning said. "Get your stats correct before you come with this question."
The stats were correct.
In Acee's defense, the stats were indeed accurate. Since 2005, the Chargers own the Colts. Own them. And yes Peyton, 2005 is a pretty significant year. It was five years ago (nice, basic number to base legacy stats on) and it was the year the Chargers (and then-quarterback Drew Brees) came into the RCA Dome and beat the then 13-0 Colts.
FYI: Also since 2005, the Colts have owned the Patriots. 5-2 record against them. I'm sure if you present that stat to Big P, he doesn't bristle.
For Peyton to get snippy at someone for asking him a basic question backed up with accurate stats is beneath him. But, the 'incident' with Acee, which was truly no big deal, underlines the pretty obvious frustration Peyton is exuding right now.
Mike Florio had his usual snarky take on the incident. Anytime Peyton farts, Mike is always quick to jump in and start pointing fingers at Peyton. I've talked to Mike about this. He tells me it's part of the business. Making mistakes is 'human,' and Peyton works very hard to project an image that he is something more than that on the football field.
For me, Peyton is indeed as human as the rest of us even though he seems rather super human when he is carving up 3-4 defenses that he, supposedly, has trouble against. But this has been a frustrating year for the Colts and for Peyton. So many injuries and, in my mind, so many poor decisions made by management prior to the start of the season have forced Peyton to, once again, carry the load.
Factor in that a Colts defense, which has $169 million dollars invested in long-term contracts ($37.5 to Bob Sanders, who has played in only three games the last two seasons), is giving up over 26 points per game on the road. This puts added pressure on an injury-depleted offense and, thus, more pressure for Peyton to 'play perfect.'
This might be getting to #18 a little bit.
Peyton's a tough dude and he can hack it. Part of what makes him the best is is drive to compete. As Kevin Acee accurately notes:
An angry Manning is not something any team wants to see.
Look for Peyton to come out and make a statement Sunday night.