Twice the game seemed to have been put out of reach by the Patriots. The Colts were outscored 14-0 in the 1st quarter and 10-0 in the 3rd leaving them down 21-7 with 3 minutes left in the 1st, and down 31-14 with just 10 minutes to play. The Colts battled back with back to back TD drives to start the 2nd and 4th quarters and after giving up a TD on all 3 of the Pats 1st half drives the D stiffened in the 3rd and shut the Pats O down in the 4th holding them to just 23 yards all quarter.
But it wasn’t quite enough. Driving down 3 in the final minute, inside fieldgoal range, a hurried and off balance Manning missed his intended target on the doorstep of the endzone and was intercepted for the 3rd time of the night.
The Colts flaws were on full display tonight, terrible tackling, porous zone, little push against the run, Aaron Francisco, poor pass protection, hit and miss running from Don Brown, little room to run, route miscommunications and even Peyton forcing a few balls, BUT, the Colts battled back to within a hairsbreadth of beating a prime AFC title contender, on the road and absolutely crippled by injuries.
Just as the Colts were always down (sometimes so much so as to seem hopeless) but never out of the game today, this seasons’ Colts team can’t be written off until they are officially, mathematically, legally, in all senses wholly, dead and buried…. with 6 feet of concrete poured on top.