Last year's game in San Diego was one of the greatest games Peyton Manning has ever played. I say that with my chest puffed out, my head high, and my knuckles cracked in anticipation of some blowhard who throws selective stats in my face in a pathetic attempt to debunk my opinion.
The game in SD last year is known for Peyton throwing 6 picks and Dwight Freeney breaking his foot. The game was played at night in a dark, brooding rainstorm. It has harsh. It was physical. And the Chargers were damn lucky to win the game.
The Colts played that game with so many key starters hurt it wasn't even funny. Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, Raheem Brock, Freddie Keiaho, Tony Ugoh, and Anthony Gonzalez all did not play. Peyton threw passes to receivers like Aaron Moorehead, Craphonso Thorpe, and Bryan Fletcher. All played wretchedly. All are no longer on the Colts. As stated, lost during the game was Dwight Freeney, and his injury was devastating to a Colts team that was primed to win a second consecutive Super Bowl (and had Freeney not gotten hurt, they would have).
But all that is hindsight and in the past. This year, the Chargers and Colts were expected to compete for their division titles. Now, both are struggling to stay in the playoff hunt. Indy is in better shape than SD. The Colts have a 5-2 record in the conference and have won several significant tie breakers, should the season come down to that. The Chargers are 4-6, and one more loss likely ends their chances for the playoffs. Sorry, but 9-7 don't cut it in the AFC.
Some speculate that the Colts have revenge in mind as they venture to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Not only did SD beat Indy in that rain soaked heartbreaker during the regular season, but the beat Indy in the playoffs in the last game ever played at the RCA Dome. In that game, Peyton Manning all but destroyed SD's defense, but the Colts were unable to generate a pass rush on QBs Philip Rivers or (when Rivers got hurt) his replacement Billy Volek. On the Chargers game-winning drive, Volek could have knitted a sweater in the pocket prior to making his reads and throwing the ball. With Freeney gone and Robert Mathis playing on one leg, the Colts had no pass rush.
A Tampa 2 defense with no pass rush is like Corona without the lime.
And darkness covered the land.
But revenge and silly things like "pay back" do not motivate the Colts. Should Indy secure a win (something they have done only once in San Diego since Jim Harbaugh and Zack Crockett shocked the football world by beating them in the playoffs back in 1995) they will further secure their playoff position and knock off a potential Wild Card competitor. The task will not be easy, as the Colts once again face a desperate team willing to do anything to stay alive. The Chargers also have Indy's number, beating them 3 of the last 4 times.