Manning cements legacy in playoff loss to Ravens
Unfortunately, Manning was reminded of exactly this fact in a 35-38 double overtime loss to Ray Lewis’ Ravens.
While Manning will still go down as one of the all-time great quarterbacks in the NFL, he will also go down as the guy who never quite had that same magic when it came to the playoffs. After this latest playoff loss to the Ravens, Manning’s career record in the playoffs stands at a very mediocre 9-11.
Sure, many quarterbacks would love to have that record. After all, to have played in twenty playoff games is a sign of success. But this was a guy who led his team (the Colts) to more regular season victories than any other team in the NFL in the first decade of the 2000s (2000-2009). In the midst of this run, he piled on the regular season awards and accolades as well.
But all of the regular season success in the world doesn’t mean anything when the playoffs arrive. And no one knows this better than Manning, who has been “one and done” from the playoffs a staggering 8 times out of the twelve years he made the playoffs. Incredibly, in the five years in which Manning has had a first-round bye, he has only managed to win one of those matchups (including this weekend’s loss.)
To see those numbers in print is absolutely mind-boggling. As a long-time Manning/Colts fan, I’ve known that they weren’t pretty, but I’ve never had to write them down. It hurts.
It’s not all bad. Manning does have one super bowl victory to his credit, a win over the Chicago Bears in 2006. He also had another super bowl appearance which resulted in a loss to the New Orleans Saints in 2009 (a loss that was sealed with a Manning pick-six by the Saints’ Tracy Porter).
Simply stepping onto a football field after four neck surgeries that had kept him sidelined for over a year was an incredible feat. To come back and play at the level he did was nothing short of extraordinary. The momentum and hype of it all built to a feverish pitch by the end of the season. Super Bowl or bust.
Many were saying that the only team with a shot at slowing down the Manning-led Broncos would be the Patriots. This was vintage Manning. Perhaps better than vintage Peyton (is that even possible?!). And now with a team that had a legitimate defense – something Peyton often lacked in Indy – many were already playing the “look at what would have happened if those Colts’ teams in Indy had a defense” game.
But unfortunately for Manning, this was not the case. Manning had three turnovers in a loss to what many believed was a much inferior Baltimore squad. Two interceptions and a lost fumble. One of the interceptions was a pick-six near the beginning of the game (albeit from a fairly obvious missed pass interference call), and the second came in overtime that led to the Ravens kicking the game-winning field goal a few plays later.
Moreover, of the 35 points that the Broncos posted, 14 of those came from special teams (a punt return touchdown and a kickoff return touchdown). That should have been icing on the cake. Bonus points that none of us thought the Broncos would even need in this game.
Instead it was another one and done year in the playoffs for Manning. He proved to us all that he could return to the brilliant pre-neck surgery Peyton. Unfortunately, that is the same Peyton who has always struggled in the playoffs. In this comeback year, Manning has thus cemented his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play the game – in the regular season.