Before we get into the recap, a story from Mr. Archie Manning:
"One time while [Peyton] was at Tennessee, playing at Kentucky, it was cold and ugly and nasty. Kentucky wasn't a very good team, but they came out and played great and the crowd really got into it.
"Peyton put together a couple of fourth-quarter drives to win it, and I was waiting on him outside the locker room when one of his offensive linemen came up to me and said, 'Mr. Manning, he just wouldn't let us lose.' I've never forgotten that. I still get emotional thinking about it."
More than 10 years after that college game against Kentucky, Peyton Manning continues to refuse to let his team lose.
This game, in many ways, was a complete microcosm of the Colts 2008 regular season. What happens in the playoffs is just that: In the playoffs. They are a new season, and we've seen far too many team re-invent themselves (including our Colts in 2006) in the playoffs for us to put too much stock in what teams did during the regular season.
Hold on. Gotta stop for a second. Gotta let it sink in. We are, indeed, in the playoffs!
After a 3-4 start and many, many supposed sports expects saying our season's end was nigh (yes, I mean you The Big Lead; time to step forward and receive your ceremonial kick to the nards courtesy of every Colts fan who reads Stampede Blue), the Colts have put together one of the best late-regular season runs in recent Colts history. Cue the bullets:
- They've won 11 games, 8 of them in a row.
- This is the 7th consecutive playoff appearance, an NFL record
- This is Tony Dungy's 10th consecutive trip to the post-season, also an NFL record. Best coach of his generation? Maybe. Belichick lovers need to be reminded that he did indeed cheat all those years he won Super Bowls. Tony D wins, and doesn't cheat to do it. Just sayin'. Maybe both are the best.
- This was Peyton Manning's 31st 4th quarter comeback victory.
- This was the 4th game this season where the Colts battled back to win the game after trailing by 10 or more points
Mr. Manning, he just wouldn't let us lose is now the official catch phrase for the 2008 regular season. More than any other team I've seen in recent memory, these guys absolutely refuse to lose no matter the game or situation. Yes, we are in the playoffs, and DAMN is it sweet!
As always, for a Jaguars fan's take on the game, check out Chris at Big Cat Country. I'm off for a few minutes to find some Emergen-C. Beer has a way of finding me whenever the Colts clinch a playoff berth.
(Oh, and pleae don't kick The Big Lead in the nards. I was just kidding. He's a great guy. Dumb as a post with making NFL predictions, but a great guy nonetheless. Oh, and his blog gets, like, a ton of hits. I basically called him so so he could link me this morning. I'm a whore, I know. A dirty, fat, ugly blog whore... whose team is going to thep layoffs!)
[UPDATE]: From the comments:
"Never in Doubt." Nice. BBS approves.
Though I’m in tune to the “Mr. Manning, he just wouldn’t let us lose” phrase, I think there is one that might be just as fitting. At the end of the game Manning was doing an interview and Dungy came up and hugged him and they exchanged the same phrase with each other. I couldn’t hear it well (anyone have the game DVR-ed?), but I think they said “Never doubt” to each other. It was almost as if it was an inside thing the team had discussed together.