Yesterday the talk in Indiana was of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his struggles. After losing to the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday, the Colts find themselves at 6-6 and fighting for their playoff lives.
Granted, the team has been decimated with injuries, but there are other teams with major injuries to key players as well, like the San Diego Chargers. Quarterback Phillip Rivers may have to post an ad on Craigslist for receivers before too long.
Rivers has had injuries to virtually all his starting wide receivers. Vincent Jackson came back for a few plays after holding out most of the season two weeks ago—now he is hurt and unavailable.
The Chargers starting running back Ryan Matthews has missed a number of games as well. Despite the plethora of injuries and getting off to their customary slow start, the Chargers managed to blast the Colts out of Lucas Oil Stadium, 36-14.
Then there are the once-lowly Dallas Cowboys, who seem to be rejuvenated under interim head coach Jason Garrett.
The Cowboys problems have been well-documented. They got off to a very slow start at 1-4, then starting quarterback Tony Romo separated his collarbone. Enter John Kitna, and they are 1-5.
The Cowboys had no team chemistry to speak of and players were simply mailing it in. Owner Jerry Jones had had enough. Jones finally pulled the trigger on the Wade Phillips era after seeing his team go 1-7.
But despite the problems, the Cowboys marched into Lucas Oil Stadium and gutted out a 38-35 overtime victory over Manning’s Colts, in which he threw four interceptions.
The Chargers and Cowboys have problems, too, yet they were able to beat the Colts.
Is Manning on the decline?
Can he really hack the pressure?
Given his recent performances, the latter question certainly has some merit.
It is suggested that the hallmark of greatness is one's ability to overcome adversity. It is
agreed that it is easy to function when everything is stacked in your favor.
It easy to deliver the mail in summer when the weather is great, as opposed to when it snows and the conditions are horrific.
Yet, no matter what the weather is like, the mail must still be delivered, right?
Manning has consistently been hailed as the game's best by experts. Ultimately, one's greatness is measured when adversity visits your doorstep; right now, adversity is an unwanted visitor that looks like it wants to stay with Manning rather than vacate.
Manning gets all the praise when things go right. Isn’t it fair to question him when things go south?
The traits Manning has been praised for in the past he is now struggling to find. He has prided himself on reading defenses, making the tough throws and carrying the team.
As of late, Manning’s reads are off, he is throwing interceptions and he is not making things happen.
Is this the Manning you will get when the going gets tough?
Is this what you get when adversity visits Manning's doorstep?
In life, it is often suggested things are not as great as we think or as bad as they seem. Is it possible Manning is not as good as previously advertised?
Is it possible he has been overrated?
I say yes. I have thought so for years.
I go back to their Super Bowl victory over the Bears nearly five years ago: While he was named MVP of the game, it was clear that Dominic Rhodes was the best player on the field for the Colts, yet Manning was hailed as the savior.
Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks. Let’s see if Manning ignores the injuries of his teammates and puts the team on his shoulders and delivers.
Personally, I don’t think he can do it.