Week Two was even wackier and crazier than Week One. Who would have guessed the Chargers and the Jaguars would start 0-2, and the Tom Brady-less Patriots would start 2-0. This is why football is America's sport; why it dominates lesser professional sports leagues like baseball and basketball. The NFL is totally unpredictable while the other leagues seem to feature the same premiere teams year after year.
One constant in the NFL is Peyton Manning. With Tom Brady gone for 2008, Peyton is now the premiere player in football. Of course, we Colts fans know that even with a healthy Brady, Manning is still better.
Peyton, still forced to make both offensive and o-line audibles in the absence of Jeff Saturday, had to work with an offensive line missing 4 starters, including his left tackle Tony Ugoh. Ugoh got hurt in the second quarter and did not return. He was also without Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme, his two best receiving tight ends. Yet, one again, despite all these annoying and (quite frankly) alarming injuries, the Peyton seemed to will the Colts back from a 15-0 deficit to score 18 unanswered points, with the final 3 courtesy of a 47 yard FG from a "terrible kicker."
Peyton was also working without a stable running game, again. He threw the ball 42 times, connecting on 62% of his throws. He's still a bit rusty, and not 100% healthy. He screwed up his time management late in the game. He made two horrible INTs. He's still not able to run the stretch play. This means he has to toss pitch the ball to the RB, who is usually met 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The stretch play is the bread and buter of the Colts offense. In all honesty, if they can't run that, then they shouldn't run the ball at all. Maybe a draw or a handoff out of the shotgun, but the toss pitch is just handing yards to the defense.
Still, despite all these obstacles, the Colts won, and Peyton Manning was the biggest reason why. Yes, other players stepped up, like Gonzo with his crazy lateral and 9 catches. Reggie had a TD and big catch to set-up the game winner for Adam Vinatieri, the best clutch kicker in football, who nailed it from 47 yards out. You might recall the last time this team needed roughly a 47 yarder to win. That guy shanked it. Adam drilled it. Money.
Make no mistake: This was a must win game. Confidence is everything in this league, and starting 0-2 pretty much dooms most team from winning their division, and in the AFC South it is damn hard to fight back into things after starting 0-2. To my knowledge, no team has started 0-2 and won the South. But this team is not 0-2. This team is still the best team in the AFC South. Dwight Freeney is back, and still destroying opposing left tackles. Eric Foster is definitely a keeper, and Joseph Addai still has a knack for getting tough goal-line TDs (yes, he was in; the friggin line judge saw it and called it).
Welcome to the wild and wacky world of pro football. It's never what you expect, and most of the time... that's exactly the way you like it.