This is the last of three nominations for the most memorable plays in Indianapolis Colts history dating to when they moved to Indianapolis in 1984. The first nomination was second-year quarterback Andrew Luck leading the Colts from 28 points down in the second half to beat Kansas City in the AFC playoffs last season. The second was cornerback Marlin Jackson's interception of New England quarterback Tom Brady with 18 seconds left to seal the Colts' 18-point comeback in the AFC Championship Game in January 2007.
Score: Colts 34, Chargers 31
Date: Dec. 26, 2004. Site: RCA Dome
It didn't seem like Peyton Manning would break Dan Marino's season touchdown passing record on this day. For 59 minutes you thought Manning would have to wait until the season finale against the Denver Broncos to pass the record.
Manning was untouchable by defenders all season leading up to the Week 16 game against San Diego.
But the Chargers sacked him four times, forced two fumbles and intercepted him once.
With the game on the line, though, Manning did what he does best: Be clutch.
Manning shook off the play call that came in through his headset and decided to make a backyard play call to receiver Brandon Stokley.
Manning told Stokley to run a post route.
Lined up in the slot, Stokley threw the defense off balance by faking a fade to the corner and cutting back inside on the post to catch the 21-yard touchdown pass from Manning. Chargers safety Terrence Kiel was faked out so badly by Stokley looking as though he was going to run the corner route that he fell in the end zone.
"You think the NFL is real complex," Manning told reporters after the game. "But it turns into street ball real quick."
The touchdown pass was the 49th of the season thrown by Manning, breaking the record set by Marino in 1984.
"It says a lot about Peyton that here we are, the game on the line, and he calls a play we've never run before," Stokley told reporters. "He calls a post. I just didn't want it to hit me in the face."
Manning spent the weeks leading up to that game talking about how playoff seeding was more important than passing Marino's record. The Colts beat the Chargers in overtime.
"At the time I threw it, there wasn't a lot of emotion for me, because if we don't get the 2-point conversion, this is a down locker room right now," Manning said after the game. "The fact that it happened, we won the game ... . It sure made for an exciting day."