Facing a third-and-seven at their own 23, struggling to protect a 26-18 lead with 1:39 left Sunday at Jacksonville in a game they should have comfortably wrapped up some five minutes earlier, Peyton Manning & Co. needed a first down in the worst way. Everybody - the Jaguars defense included - knew what was coming next.
“We've got who I think is the best player in the NFL,” was all the explanation Colts coach Tony Dungy needed afterward. “We wanted to give him a chance to win the game.”
We know now how it turned out. The Colts picked up the first down, ran out the clock, nudged their record to 13-0, and locked up a playoff spot and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.