Mathis, Session, Brackett and Wayne have all been declared to be active per ESPN. Mathis’s inclusion in the active list today is a major boon to the Colts’ chances.
- The Colts start at the 20 to begin the game. Garcon starts off hot with a 30 yard catch and run. Manning completes a key third down to Addai, and the Colts drove the ball inside the 15. On a huge third and 7 Manning hit Clark for the first down at the four. A failed run and an incomplete set up third and goal from the five, but Manning found Collie in the end zone to set the Colts up 7-0. Text book drive despite no running game. Manning goes 8/10 for 76 of the 80 yards.
- The Broncos pick up a holding call on the return and start around the 11 yard line. They go nowhere as Brackett and Freeney stuff Moreno on third and two. After a three and out, the Colts will start at the 40. The first quarter is halfway gone and the start is perfect.
- The Colts second drive is all Joe Addai. He got things going by ripping off a couple of nice runs. On third and two, Manning hit Joe for a 25 yard gain, thanks to a nice pick by Frenchy. On third and 9 from the 10, Manning finished out the drive by hitting Clark for a TD. Manning is absolutely on fire and Denver has no answer for him. he is 10/14 for 111 yards and 2 scores, and a rating of 134.2. 14-0 Colts. Incredible. This team seems to be finally hitting its stride.
- Denver responds with a couple of first downs and some nice running, but on third and four, Lacey made a HUGE hit to set up a fourth down from the 42, and Brackett shuts the door on Moreno. This is the Colts team we all envisioned day one of camp.
- The Colts can’t turn the good field position into more points as the Broncos finally get pressure on third down forcing Manning to throw the ball at Addai’s feet. A good punt pins the Broncos inside the 15.
- The first quarter ends with the Colts up 14-0. Denver has the ball at their own thirty, first and 10. It has been a dominant performance for the the Horse, with the only question mark being Bullitt coming off the field with an injury on the last play.
- Another drive, another punt for the Broncos. They run a draw on third and 6, and the Colts eat it alive. Denver just doesn’t seem to have the horses to compete with Indy early in this game. Colts ball at the Denver 29.
- The Colts continue their abuse of the Broncos defense as Addai slashes for good yardage. Indy faced a tough 4th and 4 in no man’s land at the 33, and Manning hit Clark all the way down to the 11. Addai pounded the rock for a first down, and then Manning threw his third TD of the half to Clark who came up lame at the end. Pray he’s ok. 21-0 Colts. Manning has 144 yards passing and Addai has 50 yards rushing on 10 attempts. This game is as big a mismatch as you can find.
- Denver finally generates some offense as Marshall beats Jennings on third down and then put up a great run after catch all the way out near midfield. Orton continued to just hit Brandon Marshall on every huge third down, several with Jennings covering him. Denver has one real WR. He has 7 catches for 77 yards. I’d say taking him away is a key for the defense going forward. The Broncos will start the third quarter with the ball, so Indy needs to put up a field goal here, or at the very least not give Denver another possession this half.
- Indy starts with the ball at the 19, but screws up the drive six ways to Sunday. Garcon drops a pass, Diem false starts, and the blitz doesn’t get picked up and Indy punts the ball back to Denver who gets it at the 45. This is the worst case scenario. Denver gets two more drives before Indy sees the the ball again. Awful job by the offense. A run on second and four would have helped.
- Josh McDaniels is an idiot. Not because he went for fourth and inches and failed. He’s an idiot because he called for the quick snap, when he could have run the clock down under 30 seconds, just in case the play failed. Instead, Indy CRUSHES the fourth down play, and the Colts get the ball back at the 46 with :40 and two timeouts.
- Aw frig. Darrell Reid makes a great play to bat a Manning pass up in the air where it is picked. Fortunately, the Broncos lose 15 yards on a stupid penalty by Reid (you can’t remove your helmet in celebration, not even for a moment). Denver starts at their own 37.
- Marshall continues to kill the Colts. He gets a pass out near midfield, but Freeney gets a good hit on Orton and generates a holding penalty as well. Marshall picks up two more catches, but time runs out without the Broncos getting into field goal range. Bullet dodged.
Indy was dominant for most of the half, but the Broncos managed to generate some offense behind a huge game from Brandon Marshall. I would suggest not covering him with Tim Jennings any more. Just a thought. On defense, the Colts have shut down the run game, but have struggled to get any real pressure on Orton who has completed 16 of 18 passes. The Broncos start the second half with the ball, so it is incumbent on the defense to start the half with a stop.
- Denver starts inside the 20 thanks to good coverage and a high deep kick. The Colts D forces a three and out, thanks in part to a nice tackle by Hayden on a short pass to Marshall. He held him to just a 2 yard gain, and Orton misfired on third down. Berger hits a HUGE 55 yard punt with no return for the Broncos, so the Colts get to start inside the 20 now. Big stand by the D.
- The Colts can’t do anything with the ball as Dumervil gets pressure on Manning who rolls and throws to Clark. The ball hits him in the hands, but he’s popped at the same moment, and a would be first down goes for naught. Denver will start at the 34. Suddenly the Broncos are getting pressure on Manning, and the WRs aren’t helping out by hanging on to on target passes.
- Denver threatens all the way inside the Indy 35, but on third and 2, the Broncos implode. A delay of game wiped out a 2 yard loss, and on the retry Brackett blew through on a blitz up the middle for a sack of Orton. The Broncos have to punt, and pin Indy at the 11. It feels like 89 yard, soul killing 10 minute drive time for the Colts to put this game away.
- Wow, what was Manning doing? He just threw the worst possible pick. He was aiming for Wayne, but threw it way out in front of him. The ball hit Bailey in the face and bounced right to a Bronco. Denver gets the ball at the 37. Awful, awful throw.
- On third down, Freeney almost comes up with the huge sack, but Orton pulls away and hits Marshall (well covered by Jennings for once) for a huge first down inside the Colts 30. Then the Broncos fall apart. A third and a foot play gets killed on a false start. Then Indy blitzes Orton who stupidly throws a duck to a double covered Marshall in the endzone where Tim Jennings easily hauls it in, thus erasing the Manning pick and preserving the Colts lead at 14. Amazing stand by the D.
- News is that Bullitt and Powers are out. Geeze. Thursday night looks worse and worse.
- Another three and out for the Colts offense that suddenly can’t complete a pass. Manning was flexing earlier in the game on the sideline, and it certainly seems like something is off with him. Two more incomplete passes kill the drive, and the Broncos start at their own 40. The D has been under a lot of pressure today and held up well, but it feels like a score is coming for the Broncs.
- Well, it should have come. Denver drives into field goal range, but stalls out as Hayden makes back to back huge plays. Prater’s field goal sails wide, and the Colts stay up by 14.
- WHAT IS UP WITH PEYTON? Another terrible pick. I mean TERRIBLE. Manning throws the ball right at Denver, and the Broncos set up show inside the 25. Unreal.
- The third quarter ends as Jennings busts up a pass to Marshall, to set up a critical third and 8 from the 10. That was one of the worst offensive quarters in recent Colts’ history, but at the end of it, they still lead by 14 points. This defense is special. They have 15 more minutes to prove it.
- The Colts HOLD AGAIN! Indy gets after Orton with Freeney and Broncos have to settle for a field goal. Prater nails the gimme, and Indy leads 21-10. Seriously, guys. A few first downs would be nice. It seems that Addai is hurt and his absence is killing this team.
- Wow. Three and out. Three incomplete passes including a bomb to Garcon that Frenchy dropped after the DB raked his arms. Awful. McAfee gets off a huge punt, but it’s little consolation. The offense is DEAD. Garcon is having a nightmarish game with several key drops. Manning has been making mistakes left and right, and the Colts have abandoned the run (which was effective early) possibly because Addai is dinged. This game is all on what has to be a gassed defense. At some point, someone has to start making plays.
- Mookie gets the Broncos going with another offsides penalty. They just kept rolling from there. The drive ends with Brandon Marshall setting the NFL record for catches in a game as he grabs a TD over Tim Jennings. The D is wiped, but they do hold on the two point conversion attempt. Indy still leads by 5, 21-16, but the offense HAS to start getting first downs. The D will eventually give up this lead if they don’t get some time to rest. On top of everything else, Lacey left the field on that drive. Manning has to find something he can exploit and do his job right now, or the win streak ends.
- It almost ended as quickly as the rest, but Manning hits Collie for a HUGE first down to get the drive rolling. Peyton then found Wayne and Collie for more good gains moving the ball inside the 15. An unsung play on the drive was Addai managing to shake free on the first play, turning a 5 yard loss into no gain. Mike Hart also made perhaps the play of the game when on third and 1 from the five, he broke a tackle in the backfield and drove through for a massive first down that forced the Broncos to start burning timeouts. In the end, Manning breaks Denver’s hearts and wills with his fourth TD pass to Clark. The Colts just went on an 80 yard, 14 play drive that lasted 7:19 and cost Denver all three of their timeouts. Incredible. Where was this drive about a half an hour ago?
- Denver starts at the 20 with 2:25 to play and no timeouts. Two incomplete passes and a Freeney sack take the Broncos to the two minute warning facing a 4th and 18. One more play, and the Horse (good version) takes a knee to seal an incredible victory.
- Marshall makes the record breaking catch, and flips to a teammate, but they don’t come anywhere near the first down marker. Indy wins 28-16.