On Friday, I wrote that if the game came down to Vick verses Manning, Indy would win.
I was wrong.
Quite simply, despite all the reasons the Colts had to lose yesterday, the game boiled down to this:
Mike Vick played as fine a game as a quarterback can play yesterday. I don’t think any other QB in the league would have beaten Indy’s defense yesterday. Vick shredded it with his legs and with rocket throws cutting through the Philly wind.
Peyton Manning played his worst game in more than two years. He played stubborn, foolishly continuing to chuck the ball deep downfield despite no success. On the day, Manning was 1-14 for 33 yards and 2 picks on deep throws (he did pick up two penalties as well). Manning has never played well in windy conditions, and the ball routinely sailed on him. It was never more evident than on his final three throws of the game. Instead of trying to hit a 10 yard pass, Manning went deep three straight times in an effort to get into field goal range. The throws were unnecessary and foolish.
1 for 14. 33 yards. Two picks. No other analysis is necessary. You know what you need to know. The Colts were never going to win this game without a top shelf effort from Peyton Manning, and they did not get one. They lost. At the end of the game, Peyton had a chance to pull out the victory against all odds. He got impatient and tried to make throws that he was physically incapable of making. The issue isn’t length; it’s force. Manning has never thrown the ball hard enough in a stiff wind. That’s not a new development.
Vick throws a laser spiral, and torched the Colts on long throws, going 3 for 6 for 98 yards. Despite his good velocity, the Eagles smartly limited the downfield shots. It just didn’t make sense given the Indy pass rush and the weather. Manning, on the other hand, never adapted his game and continued heaving the ball long despite no success at all. It was as foolish a game as I’ve ever seen from Manning, and as spectacular a game as I’ve ever seen from Vick.