Manning, Colts rally past Jets, reach Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS -- Perfection doesn't matter when you're already the best and heading for the Super Bowl.
Four-time MVP Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes and the Indianapolis Colts rallied from an 11-point, first-half deficit to beat the New York Jets 30-17 Sunday in the AFC championship game.
The Colts (15-2) are now headed back to Miami for the second time in four years and their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
"We talked about being patient against these guys," Manning said. "We knew it would be a four-quarter game. They have an excellent defense."
For the Colts, it was a measure of redemption.
A month ago when the Jets were last in town, Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell pulled his starters in the third quarter and gave up a chance at a perfect season to focus on a Super Bowl run.
This time, they got it right against big-talking Rex Ryan and his Jets. Manning was on the field for the final play.
"I thought we just kept our mouths shut and went to work this week," Manning said.
The Colts will face either New Orleans or Minnesota in two weeks.
"It's very special," said Manning, MVP when the Colts beat Chicago in the Super Bowl three years ago. "It's great to win this championship here at home in front of the best fans in the world."
Fans counted down the final seconds, streamers and confetti hung in the air, flash bulbs popped incessantly and when the official announcement was made, fans roared.
"The guys have always been a very confident bunch and they do a great job of hanging in there," Caldwell said.
"Peyton had just an outstanding game," Caldwell said. "He's one of those guys that can adjust to different situations. ... A real champion."
Manning finished 26 of 39 for 377 yards. He became the first player in league history with seven 300-yard postseason games. That broke a tie with Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.
The Jets' magical run ended with their first road loss in six games.
New York (11-8) built a 17-6 lead and took advantage of trick plays. But rookie Mark Sanchez and the Jets were shut out in the second half.
"Today wasn't our day. There's no question," Ryan said. "You have to give credit to the Colts. Obviously they're the cream of the crop right now."
Caldwell became only the fifth rookie coach to reach the Super Bowl. Only two others San Francisco's George Seifert and Don McCafferty, of the Baltimore Colts have won it.
But Caldwell does have Manning, who drove the Colts right through New York's No. 1 ranked defense with his uncanny precision.
Manning continually dropped passes right over the fingertips of defenders, and the Jets couldn't stop him.
After falling behind late in the first half, Manning finally responded. He took the Colts 80 yards in four plays, hooking three straight times with rookie Austin Collie including the 16-yard TD pass that made it 17-13 with 1:13 to go in the half.
Manning was just getting started.
The next time he got the ball, he took the Colts 57 yards in eight plays, connecting with Pierre Garcon in the back corner of the end zone to make it 20-17 with 8:03 left in the third quarter.
He sealed it midway through the fourth when Dallas Clark caught a 15-yard TD pass to make it 27-17.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger hurting after big hit
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Steelers notebook: Defense sags in NFL rankings because of struggles against the run
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Steelers film session: Missed tackles prove costly
- Steelers’ defense out of sync
- Big Ben’s struggles emblematic of loss
- Robinson: There’s no telling when play of aging QBs will fall off
- Steelers’ Bell gets bulk of team’s touches
- Heyward confident youthful Steelers defense will improve