Indianapolis Will Thrive After the Peyton Manning Era with Dan Orlovsky

Baily DeeterSenior Writer IIIDecember 23, 2011

Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky scrambles and looks for a receiver during Indy's 19-16 win over Houston.
Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky scrambles and looks for a receiver during Indy's 19-16 win over Houston.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kerry Collins couldn't do it. Curtis Painter couldn't do it. Dan Orlovsky almost beat the Patriots, then got the Colts close to Baltimore before the Ravens won by double-digits. Then came the division battles.

Tennessee was "a lock" to beat the Colts and improve to 8-6 on Sunday, when Tennessee visited the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. However, the Colts overpowered Matt Hasselbeck, and Orlovsky found a way to give the Colts the lead in the third quarter.

With the momentum on their side, Jacob Lacey picked a Hasselbeck pass and took it to pay dirt, and when Jake Locker entered the game, looking to lead the Titans back, Donald Brown put the dagger on Indy's first win of the season with an 80-yard touchdown run.

Orlovsky picked up his first win as a starter, and the Colts started preparing for their game against Houston. In that game, Orlovsky had a rhythm going, although each drive ended with field goal attempts (one was missed).

Down 16-12 with 1:56 left and 78 yards to go, Orlovsky and the Colts got into another rhythm, but this one wouldn't be stopped. Orlovsky avoided pressure and hit Pierre Garcon for a first down. On 3rd-and-10, he found Jacob Tamme for the first. On 3rd-and-7, he hit Reggie Wayne with a perfect throw on a long ball.

Now, the crowd was on Indy's side, finally starting to support their struggling Colts. After three penalties put the Colts at the Texans 1-yard line (with no timeouts), Orlovsky capped his strong performance by lofting a one-yard scoring strike to Reggie Wayne.

The Colts have seen their best days of the season with Orlovsky, and while Peyton Manning is easily the better quarterback, becoming the first one-win team to beat a team with 10 or more wins is an incredible feat, which Orlovsky accomplished during the 19-16 victory over Houston.

Orlovsky has thrown five touchdowns and two interceptions during his four games, and in New England he posted a 113.2 passer rating, keeping a game that no Colts fan wanted to see close.

With Curtis Painter, Indianapolis could keep games close, but they would blow it when they needed to come through. With Orlovsky, they are keeping games close, and they are winning.

If Manning decides to retire and Luck ends up in Indianapolis, the dilemma Jim Caldwell would have to face is who to start. Orlovsky has experience and has shown he can come through in the clutch. Until Luck, or a solid rookie backup develops, Orlovsky should start (unless Manning is still around).

So, Colts fans, if you thought your team's future was doomed four weeks ago (if Luck was a bust), think again. Orlovsky is a solid quarterback who has proven he can lead teams downfield, score touchdowns and put up impressive numbers.

For Dan Orlovsky and the Colts, it's time. They have the quarterback of the future ready to rumble.