We’re sure to hear plenty more formal analysis about it Sunday night and all week.
Did the Colts blow it by giving up their chance at a perfect season? Or were they wise to pull back and allow key guys including Manning to catch their breath?
With a 15-10 lead, why not let Manning direct one more drive, potentially going up two scores and then see what happens?
I had a hard time watching how it unfolded. I don’t see how the durable Manning is at any extreme risk for injury by playing an additional 20 minutes. Coach Jim Caldwell and the Colts put Curtis Painter in a terrible spot. While it’s his duty to be a sacrificial lamb if that’s what his bosses want, it goes against the coaching credo that you don’t ask a player to do something he can’t.
This argument about how Indy will trade 16-0 for a Super Bowl title carries this giant hole in it: A 15-1 or 14-2 season does just as little to ensure a team gets to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
The big beneficiary is, of course, the Jets. They are now in line for an AFC wild-card berth if they beat Cincinnati in the final regular-season NFL game at The Meadowlands next week.
The Colts head for Buffalo. Those sideline ponchos will be ready for Manning & Co. on the bench, and it won’t take until the third quarter for them to give the coats full-time work.