I've never seen a stadium explode with glee more than when Justin Miller returned that kick-off 103 yards for a TD with roughly 2 minutes left in the game. The Meadowlands went berserk. Jets fans, who had been tailgating since 9:00 am that morning, screamed up to the football gods in triumphant glee. You could tell they were ready to chant a taunting melody towards the Colts bench as they celebrated an assured victory. There was just one problem:
Peyton Manning didn't let them.
Before I continue, I have to compliment the folks at the Meadowlands. Wonderful people. Wonderful atmosphere. Hundreds of folks were out early grilling sausage, bacon, chicken, ham, the works. Beer flowed like spring water. Jets fans were fun-loving, courteous, and jovial. Even long after the game, parents and kids were still in the parking lots tossing around the ball, grilling, and enjoying the nice clear day. So, hats off to the fine workers and fans at the Meadowlands. It's a very nice stadium with a wonderful atmosphere. Why, in God's name, did they even consider building that ridiculous West Side Stadium, which would have eliminated tailgating all together? Stupid, stupid idea, and I'm glad it fell through.
There were several Colts fans in attendance as well. The Colts do have a very strong following outside Indy. They're just not as obnoxious and annoying as Raiders, Cowboys, and Steelers fans can be. I sat with mostly Colts fans.
Every week I give out game balls to heralded and unheralded players who made a significant difference in the game. This week, only one player gets the game ball: Peyton Manning. It's games like this that the moron pundits and hater idiots conveniently forget when they bash "Stat Boy" as a "choker." Games like this are erased from their sad, petty little brains when they go off on rants about how Manning sucks, he's only about his stats, yadda, yadda, yadda.
There is no QB in the league who could have done what Manning did yesterday. No, not even Tom Brady. Brady is known for leading big comebacks in big games in hostile environments. However, most of his comebacks were the result of getting his team in FG range. Adam Vinatieri did the rest. Now, that doesn't take anything away from Tommy Terrific. He's great, as I have said many, many times. But as great as he is, I have never seen Brady lead his team back TWICE in less than 4 minutes, needing a TD both times, and not having any time outs.
I have seen Manning do it though, because that's exactly what happened yesterday.
Yesterday's comeback was an all-timer. Will it get big air time? No. The story for the ESPN idiots of this world was the last play of the game: a foolish, desperate attempt to win that got their star WR hurt mMore on that dumb play in Recap Part II). When was the last time you saw a QB do what Manning did yesterday? Have you ever heard a QB coming back twice in less than 4 minutes, needing a TD both times, and not having ANY timeouts? I haven't.
This is how great Manning is, and a clear example of how the media simply does not care what the Colts do until the playoffs. 4-0? Ho-hum. Winning despite depleted roster? Yawn. One of the greatest comebacks in modern NFL yesterday? Yadda, yadda. Let's see you in January.
This is how it will be all year Colts fans. Get used to it. The positive is we, as fans, can enjoy this ourselves. Let the schmuck media gawk at bad QBs like Michael Vick, or pump up the flavor-of-the-month teams (like Jacksonville a few weeks ago). Yesterday was an amazing, improbable, highly-emotional win; the kind that can propel you forward despite injuries, distractions, whatever.
And it was one of the greatest come-from-behind wins this NFL has seen in a long time. Yet, no one seems to care. But it's ok. We're all used to the media's agenda. Recap part II coming later today.