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Indianapolis Colts: Life Without Peyton Manning

Michael Katz |
September 22, 2011 | 12:32 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Peyton Manning has been the face of the Colts for a decade. (Chris Staley/Wikimedia Commons)
Peyton Manning has been the face of the Colts for a decade. (Chris Staley/Wikimedia Commons)
For my fellow Colts fans, this looks like a season to forget.

Since Peyton Manning entered the league in 1998, the Indianapolis Colts have won 10 or more games in 11 seasons. They have gone to the playoffs 11 of 13 seasons. They have been to two Super Bowls and came away from one as the World Champions.

The 2011 edition of the Colts is a far cry from these days of glory.

Manning might possibly be out for the season after enduring another neck surgery in the offseason. It is the first time since he entered the league that he will miss a game. To put things in perspective, here are some of the key statistics from Peyton's career:

  • A total of 399 touchdown passes, good for third all-time
  • Overall passer rating of 94.9, sixth all-time
  • 11 Pro Bowl selections
  • Four-time league MVP
  • Super Bowl champion

There are many that argue that Patriots QB Tom Brady and others are better quarterbacks than Manning, citing numbers of championships as the main reason. While these are valid arguments, one only need to look at the abysmal stats for the 2011 Colts to see that Manning is the most indispensible player in the league:

-- Kerry Collins, the starter in place of Manning, has a quarterback rating of 71.4.

-- They are 27th in the league in passing yards, down from being in the top five the year before.

-- They are 28th in the league in scoring, averaging a measly 13 points per game, compared to the 27.2 PPG they averaged last season.

-- Manning fumbled five times in the last two seasons; Collins has fumbled four times in the first two games.

Peyton Manning and Kerry Collins in 2009. (Michele Moore/Wikimedia Commons)
Peyton Manning and Kerry Collins in 2009. (Michele Moore/Wikimedia Commons)
Perhaps most disturbing of all to Colts fans is the win-loss record this season: 0-2.

Yes, it is only two games into the season, but everyone knows things are not going to get any better. They face the Steelers this week, and have to go to Foxborough this year to battle the Pats. Kerry Collins struggled and lost against the Browns; how is he going to beat the good teams?

Without Tom Brady in 2008, the Patriots went 11-5. Without Manning, the Colts are destined to, at best, go 5-11, and that is being very, very generous. A two- or three-win season without Manning is very feasible. If the Colts were smart, they would keep him out the entire year, even he's healthy in two months. The reality of the matter is that they are going to be in such a deep hole at that point, the risk of bringing Manning back won't be worth it.

The Colts will, in all likelihood, get a top-five selection in the 2012 draft. Perhaps they draft their quarterback of the future in Andrew Luck or Matt Barkley. Or perhaps they draft towards defense or offensive line. Manning still has a small window of time left to win another title, but at the age of 35, that window is shrinking quickly.

Regardless, the Colts season is done already. Pack it up, fellas. The closest Indy will get to the playoffs is watching two other teams play in the Super Bowl at Lucas Oil.

See you in 2012.


Reach Michael by email, or follow him on Twitter, at @MichaelLKatz.


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