In twenty five years, when someone is writing another history of the Colts, they’ll write about the big games and watershed moments. Chances are, they won’t remember to include a 30-17 victory over the Texans to move to 5-2.
What a mistake that will be.
The truth is that in so many ways, Monday night’s stomping (and that’s what it was) of the Texans is exactly the kind of game that Peyton Manning has been winning for a decade. When they talk about performance in big games or clutch moments, trolls and analysts rare remember nights like last night, because after you win the game, everyone erases from their mind what was said before hand:
The Colts aren’t contenders.
The Texans are rising.
The South has caught up to Indy.
The window has closed.
All these things were foolishness 24 hours ago, and they remain foolishness now. The difference is that after a remarkable performance from the Indy pass rush and Peyton and the Seven Guys No One Outside of the 317 Has Ever Heard Of, everyone can agree that this is still a top tier team in the AFC. With a season, a division, a dynasty on the line, the Colts came out and dominated a solid team. How soon will everyone forget that they once doubted the Colts? If they ever remembered at all, I’m guessing it’ll go the way of Sammy Jenkis by noon.
By the end of the game, the Colts were down to: 5th string running back, 3rd string TE, 5th string WR, 4th string corner, 3rd string safety. They had a backup punter.
They won by 13.
Losing Dallas Clark will have an effect, but there are only two to four utterly indispensable players on this roster. As long as Manning and Freeney are playing, Indy has a chance. I’ll put Saturday and Mathis there as well. Those guys are the engine. Everyone else is gasoline.
This was a big game. This was a clutch performance. No one will remember 30-17 as the building blocks of legend, but at worst it’s the mortar holding the house together. Without wins like this, there would never be any playoff games, any Super Bowls, any glory.