Another postseason, another playoff loss for the Colts, another offseason of blame for Peyton Manning. I find it hard to believe that people would blame a quarterback for a loss in which he completed 69 percent of his passes at 8.7 yards per attempt with no turnovers and a passer rating of 108.7, but that's exactly what people are doing.
Perhaps Manning choked and failed to come through in the clutch to win the game? Actually, Manning led his team to a go-ahead field goal in the final minute of the game.
In fact, Manning led the Colts offense to scores on every one of its second half possessions, and the Colts offense averaged a whopping 4 points per drive on their last four real possessions of the game. In case you're wondering if that is good, the 2007 Patriots offense averaged 3.37 points per drive.
Regardless, certain people are determined to place blame for the loss on Manning. So even though Manning had a rather efficient game against a Jets defense that was determined to force him to hand the ball off, these people will point to the Colts' 16 points on the board and call Manning out for it.
Never mind that the Jets played pass all the way and Manning was doing the right thing by being patient and handing the ball off. Never mind that the Colts' less than stellar running game wasn't able to punish the Jets for skewing their defense so much.
Never mind that the Colts offense only had eight real possessions in the entire game, including a mere three possessions in the second half.
Interestingly enough, after a 17-16 victory, Jets head coach Rex Ryan praised his offense for an amazing second half while simply stating that his defense had done enough.
This might be because he knows it was his offense that stopped Peyton Manning more so than his defense. After all, the Jets offense kept Manning on the side line, and that's the best defense of all.
The Jets piled up 169 yards on the ground and put together two second half touchdown drives that together consumed more than an entire quarter.
Those 169 rushing yards on the ground were key because, as history will tell you, it's really tough to win a playoff game when you give up those kinds of yards on the ground.
The Colts are 1-6 in the playoffs in Manning's career when giving up 165 or more rushing yards.
Some will say that a truly great quarterback would win more regardless, but Joe Montana and Tom Brady are a combined 1-5 in the playoffs when their team gave up 165 or more rushing yards—and that one win was by a single point and came with Montana's 49ers forcing five turnovers.
In fact, since 1980, teams not quarterbacked by Peyton Manning are a combined 10-94 when giving up 165 or more rushing yards.
On those 10 winning teams, six rushed for at least 138 yards of their own. Two of the remaining four teams forced five turnovers. The remaining two teams were quarterbacked by Brett Favre and Dan Marino, who are not exactly known for being contrasted with Manning.
When Joe Montana managed to win a playoff game despite his defense giving up over 165 rushing yards, he completed 18 of 31 passes (58.1 percent) for 201 yards (6.5 YPA) with 1 touchdown and 1 interception for a passer rating of 74.8.
When John Elway managed to win a playoff game despite his defense giving up over 165 rushing yards, he completed 12 of 20 passes (60.0 percent) for 239 yards (12.0 YPA) with 1 touchdown and 1 interception for a passer rating of 97.7.
So why does Peyton Manning get blamed for losing a playoff game in which his defense gave up over 165 rushing yards even though he completed 18 of 26 passes (69.2 percent) for 225 yards (8.7 YPA) with 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions for a passer rating of 108.7?
Why is Manning blamed for failing five times out of six to pull out a win when his defense gave up over 165 rushing yards if everyone else's combined win percentage since 1980 under those circumstances is .096?
Keep in mind that this is the same Peyton Manning who once managed to win a playoff game despite his defense giving up over 165 rushing yards by completing 22 of 30 passes (73.3 percent) for 304 yards (10.1 YPA) with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions for a passer rating of 138.8.