The disgust of Peyton Manning and the Colts was once again displayed on their faces, after Sundays disappointing outing. Manning has had everyone on his side for the last several years to get to the big stage, and once again he has let everyone down. The befuddled quarterback, that is now 3-6 in the playoffs, could only put out his frustration towards his offensive lineman. Peyton, youre a veteran in this league now, and you got beat as fair as can be.
They often say Manning should be comparable to Dan Marino in how efficient and accurate he is as a passer. Mannings stats and ability to take over games does go hand in hand with Marino. One area though that the two are completely different at, is the ability to handle pressure. Marino didnt have the legs to scramble but wouldnt get flustered under duress. Hed stand in the pocket, and do the slightest perfect movements to evade a rush for an extra second or two. Whether it was simply a quick shuffle or a step up in the pocket, it was enough to give Marino that open lane to hit his receiver with his cannon of an arm.
Manning on the other hand, usually doesnt get pressured because defensive coaches know how often he kills them when he does. A defense might send a few packages a game at Manning. Besides that though, theyre just trying to figure out how to stop the run and pass.
As the years have gone by though, the only time Manning has looked rusty along with his team, is when he is pressured. The Steelers brought blitz after blitz and Manning couldnt take it. The timing of everything was off for his receivers routes, and therefore Mannings passes were off.
Manning loved to blame his offensive line, but what could they do? The Steelers were bringing blitzers from all sides of the field, and even Manning didnt know where they were coming from. Why the Colts didnt go to a more of a hurry up offense is a huge question? It seemed at times they tried to, but once at the line of scrimmage Manning would try audibling which never worked. All they did was give the defense an extra five to six seconds to get ready to drill Manning.
In all honesty, Manning should have left the play calling to the Colts offensive coordinator. If anyone replays that game, theyll notice the Colts were more successful when Manning wasnt rethinking plays. It was just too much for him to try to match the Steelers defense strategy. It took him out of the game mentally and he never got back in. Even on the sidelines Manning looked confused and unconfident.
The talent Manning had on his team is about as high as you can get in the NFL. Does he realize the squandered chances he has let pass by? Also, for Peyton to believe he would have done better with a different offensive line, he better rethink that comment. The Colts never established the running game like a passing team should, which just played into the hands of Bill Cowher.
The entire game was a wash from the start for the Colts, and now has done the same to a team that played on a level that everyone thought was unbeatable.