INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning dropped back, turned right and faked a handoff.
To no one.
Mike Hart was the back, but he’d whirled and gone the other way.
No matter. Manning went ahead with the rest of the play and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie on the left side of the end zone. It gave the Colts a two-touchdown lead in a game they’d go on to win 20-3. The victory earned them the spot as the host of the AFC Championship Game.
Maybe Hart saw something that made him change course. Or maybe it was typical Colts, executing well even when something went wrong.
Manning didn’t really want to say.
“I really don’t think I need to reveal that, we might run that play again next week,” he said with the grin he’s always got ready for just such a sheepish answer.
And after a follow-up question, he merely talked about the result not the build-up:
“It really wasn’t something that went wrong. The pattern for Collie and the throw were really what we work on all season. I wouldn’t really call it a mix-up. I’d call it a good throw and catch."
Younger and less inclined to keep all the state secrets, Hart said it was pretty simple.
“The safety [Ed Reed] came down and blitzed, so that’s my responsibility but the tackle ended up picking him up,” Hart said.
So Manning-to-Collie proved just that simple -- no believeable play-action needed, no back blitz pick-up necessary either.