This just in: Peyton Manning is good. Real good. If all the records and yards don't sell you on him, just reference the performance he stitched together against the Texans on his team's way to a 33-27 victory Sunday.
Down 13-9 at the half, Manning and friends scored on all four of their second-half possesssions to fight off a mostly effective Houston offense. The Texans' defense was hanging in there in the first half, but then gave up 302 yards after intermission. The Colts' running game started getting big chunks on first down and Manning did the rest while the team only missed on third down just once.
Steve Slaton put up the second-best rushing day in team history with 156 yards, including a 71-yard TD run. Ahman Green had two short-yardage TDs and went over 9,000 yards for his career.
The game plan was to run the ball, limit turnovers and keep Manning with the spectators. It almost worked.
The Texans were going to have to get touchdowns on every red zone trip to win, but they settled for two Kris Brown field goals early to grab a 6-3 lead. There was an uneasy feeling with a low-scoring game in progress facing an offense like the Colts. Eventually, they would find their stride and start putting up touchdowns.
This was another winnable game that our Texans could not pull out. The win over Miami should help them believe that they can produce a victory when they're in trouble. This would have been a beauty, but it didn't happen and now they have to win out to get their first winning season.
They're 3-7 now with close losses to Indy twice, Jacksonville and Minnesota haunting them. The Titans game was gettable, but they made too many errors. Maybe we'll file this season with campaigns like '03, '04, '06 and last year where a bounce or four would have made a collosal difference in the final record.
Peyton's New Place
Lucas Oil Stadium is a nice building like many of the new ones. The roof opens side-to-side fron an A-frame, as opposed to Reliant's sun roof style. The brick gives it a nice look. Inside gives you a warehouse vibe similar to Ford Field. And the end zones have huge windows, one of which opens like Minute Maid Park. The setting on the edge of downtown Indy is magnificent, as this makes a great town for big events.
I've seen all the new stadiums and think Reliant still has the best view for the fans. No other stadium has end zone seats that are as close to the field as your home diggs.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they don't return there until the Monday nighter against Jacksonville. That's now hardly looking like must-see TV for the national audience, but the Texans usually play well at home and we all know Jacksonville brings out the best in them.
First, to Cleveland where the Texans have not won in two tries, including last year. Gary Kubiak was on the sideline at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium when John Elway engineered "the Drive" to help Denver beat the Browns in the playoffs in '86. He was on the Lake Erie sideline again as a head coach last year when the Texans came up short in the fourth quarter. Let's hope the Texans third trip to Cleveland is a charm.