Colts Savoring Improbable Turnaround
QB Peyton Manning (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
QB Peyton Manning (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
via the Sports XChange
Posted Dec 21, 2008

Nothing that the Indianapolis Colts accomplish as a team or what QB Peyton Manning does on a weekly basis is a surprise to Tony Dungy anymore. The Colts' 31-24 win over Jacksonville on Thursday night is a prime example.

It was the fourth time this season that Indianapolis has rallied from a double-digit deficit. Of the team's 11 victories in 2008, eight have been by a touchdown or less.

"I wish we wouldn't (have to do that) so much. It's amazing to do it (rally for wins) on the road the way we have. Sometimes with your home crowd and some things roll right. But to go down two scores on the road is generally very tough and we've bounced back in some tough places to play," Dungy said.

What makes this year's run to the playoffs so noteworthy was the way the season started. Injuries to key players, as well as Manning's bursa sac infection surgeries, had the Colts off to an uncharacteristically slow start.

"It's been a long fight back from 3-4 to win eight straight games, win tough games on the road, and I like where we are," Dungy said.

Team owner Jim Irsay has been impressed, too.

"We've got the playoffs underneath the Christmas tree," Irsay said after the Jacksonville game. "That's really special to fight back from 3-4 and be in the playoffs for the seventh year in a row and to get it done the way we have."

Even watching Manning perform his on-field magic, as he did against the Jaguars, can leave anyone scratching their heads.

"It's pretty fun to watch. It does surprise you at times. I was kind of amazed (in the Jacksonville game) because of the situation. You get down 14 and you're running game is not going well, usually the other team is teeing off," Dungy said.

"They're able to just mix their pass coverages. It generally becomes tough to throw in those situations. But to be as accurate as he was and find guys and keep the ball moving, not take any sacks and not have any turnovers in that environment, that was really a great performance."


— Colts coach Tony Dungy on the win over the Jaguars: "For a long time there it was in doubt. We didn't play our best football. We made mistakes and things (happened) that don't normally happen to us. Peyton Manning was unbelievable. He put a lot of it on his shoulders, kept us in there, made some things happen and then our defense made some plays."

Dungy was especially impressed with his team's ability to come back after a 14-0 deficit.

"Really unbelievable under the circumstances," Dungy said. "We talked briefly during the game, 'Let's not get out of our game. We'll get the defense squared away. Let's not feel like we have to score every time.' But we were having problems stopping them. We weren't running well. Basically, we had to throw to catch up, which is hard when the other team knows you're going to pass."

— The Colts have become the first team in NFL history to win 11 or more games in six consecutive seasons and have made Tony Dungy the first coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to take 10 successive teams to the playoffs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(I asked), 'Did you guys see anything?' They told (me), "Well, you haven't thrown an incompletion (13-for-13), so we don't really have a lot of coaching points for you. Just keep doing what you're doing." — QB Peyton Manning, relating the halftime conversation that he had with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell and receivers coach Clyde Christensen.

Related Stories
Dungy: Every Year Is Tough
 -by  Dec 24, 2008
Manning: Everybody Knows The Challenge
 -by  Dec 17, 2008
Dungy: I Don't Take Winning For Granted
 -by  Dec 27, 2008

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