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The Colts Influence




Indianapolis Colts At Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High October 29, 2006  score 34 - 31 Colts

Game 8

 October 29, 2006





















Indianapolis Colts At Denver Broncos 
at Invesco Field at Mile High

Date: 10/29/2006

Game Day Weather

Game Weather: Partly Sunny

Played Outdoor on Turf: Grass
Temp: 70° F (21.28° C), Humidity: 12%, Wind: S 4 mph

Outdoor Weather: Partly Sunny


Referee: Terry McAulay (77)
Line Judge: Mark Steinkerchner (84)
Field Judge: Greg Gautreaux (80) Umpire: Bruce Stritesky (102)
Side Judge: Michael Banks (72)
Replay Official: Bobby Skelton  Head Linesman: Kent Payne (79)
Back Judge: Steve Freeman (133)
Video Operator: Lou Ruchser


It was a sellout crowd of 76,767, the third largest in Broncos history.

The Denver Broncos hadn't allowed more than 18 points to a team in a game this season and today, Denver controlled the game . . .

. . . in the first half. Plummer completed 7 of 11 passes for 128 yards, had a 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak and a 15-yard touchdown to Javon Walker near the end of the first half. Denver led 14-6 at halftime. Jake Plummer led his Denver's offense on scoring drives of 80, 80, 91 and 80 yards against Indianapolis, compiling a passer rating of 104.1, yet he still wasn't even close to being the best quarterback on the field Sunday.

The Broncos defense, which allowed two touchdowns in the first six games of the season, allowed three Sunday afternoon. They allowed 28 in the second half alone, when Indianapolis scored on all five of its possessions to overcome a 14-6 halftime deficit. Manning lead the Colts to scores on seven of their final eight drives - the only miss coming when he kneeled on the ball to end the first half.

Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne picked, poked, plowed over, around and through a Denver Broncos defense that was designed specifically to stop the Colts for a 34-31 victory. Wayne destroyed Broncos cornerback, catching 10 passes for 138 yards, most of them straight up, face to face, in front of Darrent Williams, again and again and again.

Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns as Denver allowed more points in its loss to the Colts than it had in its five previous games combined (26).
Photo: Peter Read Miller/SI

The Broncos blitzed Manning seven times Sunday but never so much as breathed on him. He wasn't intercepted, wasn't sacked and probably won't even need to send that white Colts uniform to the laundry room.

The Colts gained 437 yards and fell 10 points short of matching what the Denver defense had allowed all season. The Broncos were being compared to the best of all time.

This was one of those games where the team that has the ball last was going to win.

Colts had the ball last . . .

Bronco's tight end Stephen Alexander said the players discussed the final scenario on the sideline before it happened. So when Jake Plummer threw incomplete on a third down just after the two-minute warning and the Broncos settled for the tying field goal, they felt uneasy.

"Everybody knew that was a quite a bit of time for a guy like him and a kicker like they have," Alexander said.

"We left too much time on the clock, obviously," receiver Rod Smith said.

Because it came with 1:49 remaining, it also gave the Colts and Manning time to drive for a field goal. One of the last things Dungy told Manning before the drive was there was more than enough time remaining, and that the Colts didn't really need to drive too far to get into field-goal range for Vinatieri.

Manning said the words calmed him, just a bit. Five passes by Manning later - and two runs for 15 yards by rookie running back Joseph Addai (17 carries, 93 yards) - Vinatieri was lining up for the game-winning kick of one of the season's most memorable games.

Manning's final drive set up the winning points on a 37-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 2 seconds left. It made the Colts the first team to go 7-0 in consecutive seasons since the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers did it three straight times.

Vinatieri also was a factor with his eight kickoffs. Seven reached the end zone; five were touchbacks.

"I like the Denver thin air,'' Vinatieri said.


On with the Show

First Quarter

Colts Ball

Colts win the toss and elects to receive, and Broncos elects to defend the South goal.

Broncos kicker, Paul Ernster kicks 70 yards to the Colts end zone for a touchback. Colts start off at their 20 yard line as Dominick Rhodes tries to run to the right with no avail. Peyton then hit Rhodes with a short right pass as he gains 11 yards. Peyton and Dominick did the same thing this time for a 27 yard gain.

Broncos call a timeout?

With a first and ten, Peyton threw incomplete twice, one to Reggie Wayne and the other to Dallas Clark. On the ensuing play Rhodes only made a gain of 4 yards as Colts were forced to punt as Hunter Smith kicked it 33 yards to Denver's 10 yard line and was signaled for a fair catch by Bronco's Darrent Williams.

Broncos Ball

Bronco's use two plays to move the ball 9 yards before they call for their 2nd time out in about the first 3 minutes of the start of the game.

Third and one and Plummer scrambles for 4 yards as he was hit by Colts, Gary Brackett, who was already in motion at the same time Plummer was going down for the slide. Officials call a bullshit unnecessary roughness on Brackett.

Plummer then throws 2 incomplete passes to Javon Walker and then hits Tony Scheffler for 7 yards falling 3 yards short of a first, Broncos are forced to punt as Ernster kicks it in to the end zone for a touchback.

Colts Ball

Colts ball at the 20 yard line with just less than 10 minutes in the first quarter and Peyton hands off to Joseph Addai for a gain of 5 yards and then a 7 yard pass to Harrison on the second play. First and Ten, and again Peyton hands off to Addai, this time for a gain of 7 yards. 2nd and 3 and Peyton came up short trying to hit Dallas Clark so he gave it to Addai again for a gain of 4 yards. First and Ten and Peyton uses Addai twice for gains of 7 and 6 yards. Peyton then found Harrison for another 9 yards and Addai again for a mere 1 yard before Utecht is called for Offensive Holding, 10 yards were enforced. Peyton then turned around and hit Utecht for a 5 yard gain and then to Dallas Clark for 11 yards. First and Ten and Addai runs it up the middle for a gain of 6 yards. Colts are now on the Broncos 29 yard line. Peyton hands it off to Addai, who in turn, goes back and fires a left handed pass to Reggie Wayne in the end zone where it fell incomplete and Wayne was penalized with Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards enforced.

Robert Scheer
Colts running back Joseph Addai lobs up a failed pass attempt in the first quarter.

Colts now at Denver's 33, 2nd down and 14 and Peyton finds Fletcher for a 9 yard gain. 3rd and 5 and Peyton fires it to Marvin Harrison on a screen ON TOP OF THE LINE of SCRIMMAGE for NO GAIN. Why do we do that?

 Clutch Man, Vinatieri comes in and kicks a 42 yard field goal making it Colts - 3 and Broncos - 0. Colts used 14 plays to go 56 yards eating up a little over 8 minutes of the 1st quarter.

Vinatieri kicks off and lands it in to the end zone for a touchback.

Broncos Ball

With a little more than a minute and a half, Bronco's moved the ball with Tatum Bell running for a gain of 15 yards, to bring it back 10 after an Offensive holding call on Tackle, George Foster. Bell then got a mere 1 yard before Plummer scrambles up the middle for 7.

Second Quarter

Broncos Ball

Denver proceeded to move down field with 2 pass completions of 37 and 16 yards. Tatum Bell took up the rest of all but 1 yard of the field for Jake Plummer to run a Quarterback sneak up the middle into the endzone.

Colts 3 - Broncos 7

Colts Ball

Bronco's kickoff to Colts end zone as Terrance Wilkins runs it back for 31 yards to Colts 28 yard line.

Peyton moved The Colts down the field for 64 yards with a 7 yarder to Utecht. Dallas Clark had 2 receptions for 16 and 5 yard gains. Reggie Wayne had one for 12 as Marvin Harrison had one for 10. Rookie Running back, Joseph Addai took up the rest of yardage to end up on The Bronco's 12 yard line on 3rd down.

The newly acquired Adam Vinatieri kicks a 30 yard field goal to make the score

Colts 6 - Broncos 7.

Broncos Ball

With 5:10 remaining in the second quarter Bronco offense struck right back. Plummer moved The Broncos down to the Indy 15 before hitting Javon Walker in the end zone with 22 seconds left to give Denver a 14-6 halftime lead.

Colts 6 - Broncos 14

Colts Ball

With 22 seconds left, Peyton takes a knee to close the first half.


Third Quarter

Broncos Ball

The Broncos start off the second half from their 26 yard line as Tatum Bell only gained 4 yards and Plummer threw 2 incompletions. Broncos were forced to punt.

Colts Ball

Starting at their own 44 yard line, Peyton moved the ball 56 yards in only 6 plays with completions of 12 yards to Marvin Harrison

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison (88) pulls in a third-quarter pass along the sidelines as Denver Broncos' Nick Ferguson (25) and Champ Bailey (24) cover during their football game in Denver, on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

 and Wayne completed 2 with a 20 yarder and a 12 yard touchdown pass
bringing the score to
 Colts 13 - Broncos 14.

Broncos Ball

After Vinatieri left the Broncos on their 20 yard line with a touchback, Broncos just screwed their whole series starting off with a False Start Penalty, an incomplete pass and then after six games and a long run of close calls, Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney reached his objective: the quarterback. Freeney split his first sack of the season with linebacker Cato June on one of the game's biggest plays.

It was third-and-13 at the Denver 17 when Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer dropped to pass. The Colts blitzed. Linebacker Gary Brackett ran past and forced Plummer to step up.

Freeney hit him low. June hit him high. And on the way down, the football came out, or rather, Freeney ripped it out.

Robert Scheer
Broncos QB Jake Plummer is sacked by Colts defenders Dwight Freeney (front), and Gary Brackett during third quarter action.

Matt Detrich
|Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer fumbles the ball as he is sacked by Colts defenders Dwight Freeney and Gary Brackett in the third quarter.

The Officials were not calling the play on the field a fumble as Colts challenged the play and won the call.

Colts Ball

Colts defensive end Raheem Brock recovered the fumble at the Denver 12.

Matt Detrich
Colts Raheem Brock grabs the loose ball that came from the arms of Denver quarterback Jake Plummer after getting sacked in the third quarter.

 Three plays later, Manning passed for 5 yards to Reggie Wayne to give the Colts the lead.

Robert Scheer
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne hauls in a third quarter touchdown against Broncos defenders Darrent Williams (left) and Nick Ferguson.

Colts 20 - Broncos 14

Broncos Ball

Mike Bell was inserted into the game in favor of starter Tatum Bell and paid immediate dividends, sparking a drive that he capped with a one-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Broncos a 21-20 lead to end the 3rd Quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Colts Ball

Peyton moved The Colts down the field 50 yards with pass completions of 17 yards to Dallas Clark, a 5 yarder to Rhodes and 4 passes to Addai for gains of 17, 4, 3 and another 4. Adam Vinatieri then converted from 48 yards on the first drive of the fourth quarter to make it, 23-21, Colts.

Broncos Ball

Denver retook the lead with a 1-yard run by Bell with 8:54 remaining and bringing the score to Broncos 28- Colts 23.

Colts Ball

Peyton took his turn and moved The Colts down the field for 80 yards with a run of 5 yards from Addai, a short pass of 8 yards to Dallas Clark. Peyton and Wayne concluded this series of pass completions of 28. 6 and 14 yards and a 19 yard touchdown pass with 3:25 remaining to give the Colts a 29-28 lead.


Matt Detrich
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne just catches this touchdown pass outside the reach of Denver cornerback Darrent Williams in the fourth quarter.

Manning then hit Reggie Wayne for the two-point conversion and a Colts 31-28 lead.

Photographer unknown

Broncos Ball

On the Broncos' ensuing drive, Mike Bell ran for 48 yards on the first play, but the Colts held after that, and Broncos kicker Jason Elam's 49-yard field goal tied it, 31-31.

Colts Ball

On the final drive Manning hit three passes in front of Darrent Williams, who had said during past week he would snare at least one interception if the Colts kept coming after him.
With 6 seconds left in the game . . .

Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan looks on in the final seconds of the Bronco's 34-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts during an NFL
Photogropher unknown

Manning's final drive set up the winning points on a 37-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with 2 seconds left.

Robert Scheer
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kicks the game winning field goal with two seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter.

Matt Detrich

Broncos cornerback Domonique Foxworth (left on ground) can only watch on his knees as Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri pumps his fist after making the game-winning field goal.

It made the Colts the first team to go 7-0 in consecutive seasons since the 1929-31 Green Bay Packers did it three straight times.

Williams, with the Colts largely staying away from the Bailey-on-Marvin Harrison match-up, was Manning's target for much of the second half. As a result Reggie Wayne finished with 10 catches for 138 yards and the three touchdowns.

Colts 34 - Broncos 31

Denver Broncos linebacker Al Wilson looks at the scoreboard as he walks off the field in the final seconds of the Broncos' 34-31 loss to the Indianapolis Colts during an NFL football game in Denver, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006.
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


Joseph Addai ran for 93 yards 

Dallas Clark, the tight end who has long been tough for Denver to cover, finished with six catches for 68 yards

Indy outgained Denver 437-396

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning reached the 35,000-yard mark Sunday in his 135th game. Only Hall of Famer Dan Marino reached that plateau quicker

The Colts scored 28 points in the second half against the Broncos, notching three touchdowns, a two-point conversion and two field goals on their five possessions. Before Sunday, Denver had allowed its last five opponents to score a combined 26 points, holding them to single digits in every game. That's 26 points surrendered in 20 quarters, and then 28 more in the span of 30 minutes.

Rod Smith moved past Hall of Famer Steve Largent into 12th place on the all-time receptions list with 821.

Tatum Bell finished with just 27 yards on 13 carries

The Denver defense had only yielded two touchdowns all season entering the game

Denver holds an 11-5 edge in the all-time regular season series with Indianapolis

This was the first game of the season that Denver surpassed the 17-point mark.

What they had to say:

"He amazes me," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Just his leadership qualities, and his sense of urgency, the way he reads defenses. He did a heck of a job today."

Williams didn't make himself available for interviews after the game. Wayne did.

"I am not going to apologize to him," Wayne said. "I'm going to work just like he's going to work. When I'm out there, I just refuse to lose no matter who is on the other side of me. Like I said, my number was called today and he was on me."

"Even if you play well against them in the beginning, you still have to bring it for 60 minutes,'' Denver safety John Lynch said.

"When you make a mistake,'' Lynch said, "he will expose it.''

"When you play a guy like Peyton Manning, and the guy's going to put it on there on the money, what can you do?" Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said.

"Remember when Michael Jordan was playing and he came into town and people stood outside the arena just to see him? That's him," Broncos defensive lineman Ebenezer Ekuban said. "He's a phenomenal quarterback. The best quarterback I've faced in my eight years in the league."

"We had no sacks, none, and hardly any pressure,'' said Broncos defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban. "You let him stand back there four, five seconds every time and bad things are going to happen. No excuses. We had to get the pressure on him and we didn't.''

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