The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Momentum matters

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I guess I just don't get it. When I saw the Colts take Peyton Manning out soon after he became the fourth quarterback to pass the 50,000-yard mark, I was really taken aback. If they were really so bound and determined to keep Manning out harm's way for the sake of a perfect postseason run, why risk him being out there at all? And why put Curtis Painter, a sixth-round rookie, in the eye of Rex Ryan's blitzes when the Jets had everything to play for? Why don't you sign a veteran like Jeff Garcia in a case like that? It seemed to me that the Colts weren't playing to save Manning and their offensive stars as much as they were doing so to prove a point -- that they don't need the perfect season, and that the postseason is more important.

To which I say -- balderdash! You have no idea how the regular season leads into the postseason. Several of the most recent Super Bowl participants look pretty pedestrian at the end of the regular season, but they caught momentum at the right time. The Colts were undefeated going into their game against the Jets, but they had been squeaking by in several of those most recent contests. They were acting as if they had nothing to lose, and I vehemently disagree with that notion. I do not believe that there are meaningless games in a sport where 20 games are the most you can possibly get in a season. Momentum is important. Desire is important, Showing your organization that you're going to try your best in a "no-matter-what" basis means something.

What's the risk that Manning was going to get hurt and miss time? Well, he has never, NEVER missed a game due to injury in his unbelievable 12-year career. However, he has been more vulnerable to bad performances of late, throwing 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his last eight games before this one. Let's say he misses the second half of this game, and most of the game against the Buffalo Bills nest week, and then works through a bye week, and comes back into the lineup with the rust still on? There's such a thing as working your way through a slump, and I'm perfectly okay putting it out there that Manning hasn't played at an optimal level in the second half of this season.

By shutting Manning down too quickly, the Colts could be doing the same to their postseason dreams. This is the best time for them to remember the old axiom: You never know until you try...

By Doug Farrar  |  December 28, 2009; 8:43 AM ET  | Category:  Indianapolis Colts , Peyton Manning Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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