Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are in the midst of a three game losing streak and their chances of making the playoffs is in serious doubt.
As long as Manning is behind center and playing well, the team is always in contention.
However, when Manning is struggling like he is now, the Colts are just not the same.
A lot of the issues surrounding the Colts are tied to one another, but if you can't fix one, there's no way to fix them all.
Could this be the last time the Colts are a dominant team under Manning?
The lack of a running game has been a huge detriment to the Colts. They're ranked 32nd in the league in rushing yards and even when Joseph Addai makes his return, they'll still be sub-par on the ground.
Indianapolis has been forced to turn to a carousel at the running back position and they've lacked any sort of consistency in the running department.
If there are no threats to run the ball, trying to fake out opposing defenses using a play action is completely useless.
Donald Brown was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft, but he has failed to make any sort of lasting impact. Brown is an outside the tackles runner, but the Colts are better suited to have someone who can run between the tackles.
The Colts run defense has long been considered a joke and they continue that trend this season with the 29th ranked run defense.
Run-oriented teams look forward to the matchup as they tend to run wild against the Colts.
The Colts have a stout secondary and solid pass rush, but they lack the big bodies to plug up running lanes.
They've had numerous occasions to bulk up and upgrade the defensive front seven, but they've opted to go in another direction for the most part.
The Colts have a lengthy and well-known injury list.
Many key players have either missed time or are out for the season for a myriad of reasons.
Peyton Manning has had to make do with the players available to him, and many have not been able to step up and contribute.
The biggest loss was Dallas Clark, but he's certainly not the only one.
Bob Sanders has long been known as one of—if not—the most injury prone player in the NFL. This season has been no different.
If injuries continue to mount up like they have this season, the Colts depth will continue to be tested to the limit. If this season is any indication of the strength of their depth, well their future would come into serious doubt if this issue continues to plague the team.
The Colts offensive line has been shaky all season long.
They're having trouble buying Peyton Manning enough time in the pocket, and they're have little success trying to open up holes for the running game.
Manning sees constant pressure in his face, and that has led to plenty of bad throws.
The loss of Ryan Lilja in the offseason is clear. Lilja is now mauling defenders to open up massive holes in Kansas for their dominating rushing offense, while the Colts appear to have nearly abandoned their own running game.
Indianapolis has had opportunities to draft offensive lineman in the first round, but opted to wait until the second to go after trench players and the difference has been clear.
Bill Polian is a well-respected GM with a very strong resume.
However, he's made numerous choices, particularly in the first round, that have failed to pay off dividends.
Anthony Gonzalez has been unable to stay healthy, and subsequently has not made any sort of impact for their offense.
Donald Brown has been ineffective at running back, and is looking less and less likely as their franchise tailback.
The Colts didn't necessarily need to draft a defensive end, but they went ahead and took Jerry Hughes in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. They would have been far better off upgrading their offensive line or getting a defensive tackle to help clog up running lanes.
Polian has his work cut out for him this offseason, and if he can't significantly upgrade the many glaring holes on the team, he may be looking for work elsewhere.
Peyton Manning has a reputation for having ice in his veins, particularly with the game on the line.
However, this year he has failed to orchestrate comeback wins on four separate occasions. This comes on the heels of seven comeback wins led by Manning last season.
Something is clearly wrong with Manning, but it's hard to pin point the exact source. He has been uncharacteristically turnover prone lately and he's making poor decisions and throws.
In the last three games, he has thrown for a combined 11 interceptions. Four of those interceptions went for touchdowns by the opposing defense.
This may very well be the start of Manning's decline.