INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Peyton Manning's return dripping with drama, 18 nearly giving Indianapolis Colts fans another fourth quarter comeback on a night when his adoring fans finally had a chance to say thank you.
"There's no question it was emotional during that tribute before the game,” said Manning who was 29 of 49 for 386 yards and three touchdowns with one key interception. “But I thought I came back pretty quickly to play the game, but I felt a little tired coming into this week, but I'm somewhat relieved that this game is over, and I had some advice from some folks to take that moment and appreciate that little tribute there, but I don't feel like it was a distraction by any means."
And with a final score of 39-33, Colts get it done. After the game, Manning said he would like nothing more than to see the Colts again in the playoffs, and the way this season is unfolding, it could very well happen. Just another Colts victory over a Super Bowl favorite, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest, beating The Denver Broncos and Manning before an emotionally-charged crowd where the Colts made all the big plays when they needed them the most.
"The circus, the media, the finger-pointing, people saying they're gonna throw 90 points up on us,”said Colts Defensive end Cory Redding. “Ain't nobody give us a chance, but we hung in there and we fought and we really did a good job tonight."
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck said his team was prepared.
"We kept our focus. We didn't let the outside spheres of influence affect us sort of creep into our locker room which i think is a testament to our guys," he said.
Pressure on Manning? That was the key.
"I mean whatever it took,”said Colts Linebacker Robert Mathis, who came up with two sacks. “We had to bite, scratch and even pinch him, gotta get some kind of pressure on him make him uncomfortable. If he gets comfortable, he'll kill you, so we just tried to create uncomfortable."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano said he could not ask for a better way to enter the bye week coming off an emotionally-charged victory and for injured players like Colts Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne and a host of others time to heal.
Carmel High School took over the Colts Complex for a night.
Avon Police Department and Avon Community School Corp. are investigating photos sent from female students to male students, police officials said.
Matt Painter has Purdue on the upswing, and they head into Saturday's Crossroads Classic clash with Butler on a 3-game winning streak. The goal? Win the school's first game in the elite doubleheader.