For the 1st time since Peyton Manning left the franchise he will surely get inducted into Canton with, the Indianapolis Colts — led by the young colt Andrew Luck — will travel to Sports Authority Field in Denver to take on Manning and the Broncos in an AFC Divisional Round Playoff Game.
The Broncos and Colts don’t have much playoff history to speak of, just two games when Manning was a Colt in 2003 and 2004, and in each of those Wild Card Playoff Games, the Colts blew out the Broncos in high-scoring efforts. This game will focus more closely on both times recently that the Broncos and Colts have faced each other with Luck and Manning captaining both ships.
Here’s a look at each team’s playoff history, as well as both match-ups between Luck and Manning:
January 4, 2004: Colts: 41, Broncos: 10
It was their 1st game against each other in playoff history. Manning was perfect that day finishing 22-for-26 for 377 yards and five touchdowns as the Colts demolished the Jake Plummer-led Broncos.
January 9, 2005: Colts: 49, Broncos: 24
This same exact game essentially occurred in back-to-back years, and the results were eerily similar to each other. Manning finished the game 27-for 33 for 458 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. The one interception being the main difference in each of their 1st two playoff meetings.
October 20, 2013: Colts: 39, Broncos: 33
It was the highly-anticipated 1st meeting between Manning’s successor and Manning’s current team.
Both Manning and Luck had great games. Manning went 29-for-39 for 386 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and Luck went 21-for-38 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. The surprising, upstart Colts, who had made the playoffs in Luck’s rookie season, had a strong 1st-half showing, and dominated the 3rd quarter eventually going up 36-17 before the Broncos made a late-effort, but fell short losing 39-33.
September 7, 2014: Broncos: 31, Colts: 24
The second time came during Week 1 of this season in Denver. After going down 24-0 to the defending AFC champions, the Colts crept back into the game and eventually lost 31-24 behind a valiant effort by Luck and the rest of the offense.
The game was a test to see where the Colts stood in comparison to the Broncos and Patriots among the AFC’s elite teams. Luck has proven to be good enough to carry the Colts to victories, but a sustained run in the postseason may take a bit more of a team effort, especially if Indianapolis wants to defeat Denver.