Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy told us Sunday that “you can’t overemphasize how good the quarterback is.” We couldn’t agree more.
It’s difficult to put into words just how incredible Peyton Manning’s performance was in the Colts’ 34-31 road victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday.
He completed 32-of-39 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. In the second half, he completed 18-of-22 passes for 213 yards and all three scores.
The game was tied when the Colts took possession with 1:49 remaining. Manning completed five straight passes for 47 yards on an eight-play, 62-yard drive that ended with Adam Vinatieri splitting the uprights with the game-winner.
Following the game, Denver coach Mike Shanahan was asked where Manning ranks among the all-time greats at the position.
“I won’t evaluate that until he’s done with his career, but I guarantee you one thing: He amazes me,” he said.
Keep in mind that Manning’s mastery did not come against the Texans or Raiders. The Broncos, who’ve spent the last few years building their defense specifically to slow down Indianapolis, had given up just two touchdowns and 44 points all season and had held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 67.0 passer rating.
But Manning carved them up.
“Remember when (Michael) Jordan was playing and he came into town and everybody wanted tickets, and people stood outside the arena just to see him?” Denver defensive lineman Ebenezer Ekuban said. “That’s (Manning). He’s a phenomenal quarterback. The best quarterback I’ve faced in my eight years in the league.”
A week removed from suffering his second concussion in the last few months, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw four interceptions as the defending Super Bowl champions dropped a 20-13 loss to Oakland Sunday.
The Raiders managed just 98 yards and nine first downs but returned two of the picks for touchdowns. All of a sudden, Oakland and Pittsburgh have identical 2-5 records, and it’s the Raiders who are (sort of) headed in the right direction.
“I’m embarrassed about the way I played,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m letting the whole team down. It just seems like one guy makes mistakes and that’s me. . . . In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think I’d be playing this bad.”
Seahawks fans must be kicking themselves after watching how important a veteran backup quarterback can be to a team’s playoff hopes.
Making his first career start at quarterback for Seattle on Sunday was Seneca Wallace. Starting at quarterback for Kansas City was backup Damon Huard, a 10-year veteran and full-time starter for two years in Miami.
The Chiefs won 35-28 to climb above .500 for the first time this season. The Seahawks lost their second straight game to fall to 4-3.
In six starts this season, Huard has completed 109 of 168 passes for 1,335 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception. Wallace has turned the ball over five times in two games, and Seahawks fans are wondering when oh when will Matt Hasselbeck return.
The last word
“I give (Cowboys owner Jerry) Jones (grief) all the time. I do. I just laugh. There’s nothing I can say except giggle. But there are no hard feelings. I don’t wish them bad.”
— Former Dallas receiver Keyshawn Johnson on Jones’ decision to acquire Terrell Owens rather than re-signing Johnson
• Michael Vick: Since complaining publicly about the Falcons’ runoriented offense, Vick has completed 38 of 58 passes for 523 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions in wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
• L.J. and L.T.: The Chiefs’ Larry Johnson and the Chargers’ LaDainian Tomlinson combined for 421 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns in their teams’ wins Sunday.
• Undefeateds: Indianapolis and Chicago both picked up wins to stay perfect. The Colts are only the second team in NFL history (along with the 1929-1931 Packers) to start consecutive seasons with seven straight wins.
• Terrell Owens: The Cowboys wide receiver was tabbed as the most overrated player in the NFL in a survey of 361 of his fellow players. Brian Urlacher, Ray Lewis, Michael Vick and Eli Manning rounded out the top five.
• The Keystone State: Pennsylvania’s pro football teams are struggling. Pittsburgh has lost five of its last six and Philadelphia has lost three straight.
• NFC Worst? All four teams in the NFC West lost Sunday. No division has produced fewer wins than the NFC West’s 11.
Colts at Patriots, 6:15 p.m. Sunday. The top two teams in the AFC match up with the winner getting a leg up in the race for home-field advantage. The Patriots have the league’s fourth-ranked scoring defense. Denver’s defense was ranked pretty high, too, and Peyton Manning and the league’s third-ranked scoring offense thrashed it on Sunday. Oh, and if you’re scoring at home, Tom Brady is now 6-1 against Manning.