Indianapolis Colts Avoid Winless Season, Won’t Play Peyton Manning

The Indianapolis Colts won’t go 0-16. We know that much.

The Colts’ 27-13 victory against division rival Tennessee on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium — Indy’s first win of the 2011 season — prevented the franchise from going down in NFL history with the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only two teams to ever finish a season without a win.

But beyond the relief of finally breaking through for a win, the Colts still face some questions as they prepare to close out the final two weeks of 2011. Vice Chairman Bill Polian announced after the game that quarterback Peyton Manning would not appear in either of Indy’s last two games against Houston and Jacksonville. Also — believe it or not — there’s a legitimate race in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes again.

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Hey Colts, What’s Pestering Peyton Manning?

MANNING FACE

The Indianapolis Colts’ 38-35 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Lucas Oil Stadium only brightened the spotlight on the struggles of quarterback Peyton Manning.

The only four-time MVP in NFL history threw four interceptions for the second straight week, and (like the week before in a 36-14 home loss to San Diego) two of his picks were returned for touchdowns. And dating back to the loss at New England two weeks ago, Manning has thrown at least three interceptions in three straight contests.

ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky confirmed that Manning is the first quarterback to “accomplish” such a feat since Aaron Brooks did so in 2001. When one considers that there’s been no shortage of poor quarterbacking in the NFL since then, it’s pretty eye-popping to see Manning’s name attached to such an ugly statistic.

The question as to what’s pestering Peyton these days tops off an array of thoughts on Indy’s sixth loss of 2010, which clinched the franchise’s worst record since 2002 and will all but surely force the Colts to win out the last four weeks if they are to reach the postseason for the ninth consecutive year.

By Drew Allen

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