Manning making MVP run

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw five touchdown passes without an interception in a 38-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons as he makes a run for the league's MVP. Broncos' player-coach Jimmy Spencer saw Manning's potential while the quarterback was still in high school and will now face him on the field. Read more about Manning as well as the latest on Clinton Portis in today's reports.

Accolades tossed out rather early - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 20, 2003 - The defensive back stood, incredulous, as he watched Peyton Manning chuck the ball around the dome with authority. Nothing unusual there: Manning has been prompting such reactions with his skills for six years with the Indianapolis Colts.

Were warm-ups a dress rehearsal for game vs. Colts? - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
December 20, 2003 - Locating Clinton Portis on the practice field Friday didn't take much effort. First, one had to find the bright orange shoes. Then, there was his practice jersey. While the rest of the Denver Broncos offense wore white, Portis could be seen running around in a blue defensive jersey. "He was trying to be in disguise," coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's hard to hide."

After injury, James hitting his stride again - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin and Lee Rasizer
December 20, 2003 - There has been much talk about Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Marvin Harrison, but no one should overlook running back Edgerrin James, who is running stronger than ever. In the second quarter last week, he rushed eight times for 104 yards and finished with 126, despite sitting out the fourth quarter.

A mere 1,000 yards - Rocky Mountain News - Barry Wilner, Associated Press
December 20, 2003 - Year after year, NFL running backs surge far past the 1,000-yard mark that has been the measuring stick for success. Many of those runners, though, acknowledge that shooting for 1,000 yards these days is aiming for mediocrity.

Vanderjagt kicks way out of the hole he dug - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 20, 2003 - During an interview at last season's Pro Bowl, Peyton Manning referred to Mike Vanderjagt as that "liquored-up kicker." In response this season, all Vanderjagt — who criticized his head coach and quarterback after Indianapolis' humiliating 41-0 playoff loss against the New York Jets — has done is kick straight.

Broncos still waiting on Portis - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 20, 2003 - Clinton Portis warmed up with his teammates on Friday but did not practice. Denver's starting running back remains questionable for Sunday's game at Indianapolis. "He's still a little bit sore," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "So we've just got to wait and see."

Struggles at goal line cause Colts offense sleepless nights - Indianapolis Star - Mike Chappell
December 20, 2003 - Lost amid the offensive avalanche that buried the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday was a glitch that has pestered the Indianapolis Colts all season. Close to the goal line early in the first quarter, the offense was denied. Not once or twice, but on four snaps from the Falcons' 2-yard line. Atlanta's goal-line stand was a footnote at game's end, a four-play exercise in futility by the Colts on an otherwise proficient afternoon in a 38-7 win. But that brief power failure was neither shrugged off nor quickly forgotten.

Future Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe Answers Your Questions -
Friday, December 19, 2003 - In 1990, a seventh-round draft choice was used to select a little-known player named Shannon Sharpe from Savannah St. At the time the only thing most people knew about Sharpe, if anything, was that he was Sterling's younger brother. The elder Sharpe would play his third season in the league as a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers that year.

Bronco Dan's Fantasy Corner: Week 16 - - Bronco Dan
Friday, December 19, 2003 - Unless you are in your league's Super Bowl, you have probably begun uttering the words that every fantasy owner dreads -- wait 'til next year. It's a motto as old as the game itself, one that canvas the country from sea to shining sea.

Broncology: Third Downs and Results - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 19, 2003 - As the Broncos struggled in October and November, going 3-5, their third-down offense hit the skids. In those eight games, the Broncos converted just 32.8 percent of their third-down tries, or 32.8 percent. In those eight games, the Broncos only converted more than one-third of their third-down attempts once, against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 16.

Friday Notebook: 'Wait and See' for Portis - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 19, 2003 - The wait-and-see process for running back Clinton Portis continued on Friday. The Pro Bowl running back was in practice garb and on the field, but was limited to warmup work during the Friday afternoon session. "He did pat-and-gos," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said, referring to the tosses the Broncos throw in warmups. "He's still a little bit sore. If he makes as (many) strides over the next couple of days (as he has this week), he's got a chance. So we've just got to wait and see."

Broncos-Colts Capsule and Notes - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 19, 2003 - The Broncos look to improve their record to 10-5 with their fourth win in a row this Sunday night when they take on the Indianapolis Colts in prime time. Denver looks to put an end to its recent two-game skid to the Colts having lost in each of the past two seasons. Much will be at stake in this contest as Indianapolis can clinch the AFC South division title with a victory while the Broncos need a win coupled with a loss by Baltimore or Cincinnati (among other scenarios) to clinch theit first postseson berth in three years.

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