All those questions and more will be answered over the next three hours…
Today's Inactives - Quincy Morgan, Todd Devoe, Hamza Abdullah, Cedric Cobbs, Nate Webster, Gerard Warren, Chris Kuper and Nate Jackson.
Beautiful Colorado weather – Temperatures are expected to reach the low 70's for gametime – dropping to the low 60's by games end. Anthem is over, fly-by – flew-by, let the madness begin….
Colts win the toss – Ernster hits the end zone and Manning takes it on the 20. No-huddle no-gain, crowd noise is unbelievable with Manning on the closed end of the field. Back to back completions (11 and 27-yards) move it to the Broncos 47-yard line and Shanahn burns a time out to regroup. Colts come up flat – 3rd and six – incomplete to Clark and Indy punts. Broncos take possession on the ten…. Broncos fans prepare for Plummer -
Plummer hits Mr. Go To (Javon Walker) for six – T. Bell ads another three and Denver looks at 3rd and one – offensive confusion causes Shanny to burn his second time out of the half. Plummer scrambles around the right side for the first, tack on an unnecessary roughing penalty on Indy and the Broncos move it out to the 38.
Near touchdown to Walker – just outside his reach – Jake hits a tight end for a change (Tony Scheffler) but it's not quite enough - on fourth and three Ernster sails it inside the end zone and Indy takes over on their own 20.
Indy isn't hitting the big ones, but they are moving the ball. Manning takes to touchback and drive the Colts into Broncos territory chewing valuable time off the clock. Colts are definitely ahead when it comes to time of possession. Drive moves to the Broncos 24-yard line where Adam Vinatieri splits the uprights for the games first score.
The 14-play drive covered 56-yards and took an amazing 8:08 off the board
Plummer takes it on the 20 – T. Bell breaks for a nice run but it's brought back on a holding penalty on George Foster – terrible break – T. Bell again for a yard at best. Plummer scramble for seven brings up third and twelve form their own 18-yard line – quarter comes to an end with Indy on top 3-0.
2nd QUARTER -
Plummer hits David Kircus on a sweet 45-yard completion – moves the ball into Colt territory. T. Bell off tackle and another roughing penalty on the Colts gives Denver an automatic first and possession at the 19-yard line. Rod Smith pulls it in at the 2 and Denver has a chance to take the lead. Plummer sneaks it in and the Broncos take a 7-3 lead with 11:16 remaining in the half. Drive covered 9 plays, 80-yards in 5:29, and was undoubtedly the best drive of the season - beautiful breat out for the "O".
Ernster sails three-yard deep – Colts return to the 28 and Manning once again sets up shop.
Ernster sails three-yard deep – Colts return to the 28 and Manning once again sets up shop.
Kenard Lang traps the run for a four-yard loss but Manning counters by hitting Dallas Clark and the Colts cross midfield. Manning finds Marvin Harrison and it's first and ten from the Broncos 38.
This Manning guy is pretty good – marches the Colts down to the red zone sparking an instant noise eruption from the fans. Doesn't phase him – Manning to Addai comes up one yard shy and on fourth and one Vinatieri nails his second of the day to narrow Denver's lead 7-6. Five and change remaining in the half and Manning's hit 14 of 17 for 132-yards.Colts kick sails deep, Broncos take it on the 20.
More tight end action, Plummer hits Scheffler for 27 and the Broncos move the chains. Forget slump – Denver crosses midfield and continues to roll. Broncos bang out a nice pass/run mix – moving it down to the 25-yard line - 2:00 warning.
Back-to-back T. Bell brings up 3rd and five – another Jake scramble (he's winning back the fans) good enough for a first – Broncos take it at the 15.
Plummer to Mr. Walker - deep in the end zone - pushes the Broncos to a nice 14-6 lead with twenty-two seconds remaining. For all those that doubt the Denver defense – NO MANNING TOUCHDOWNS … I repeat (cut and paste) - NO MANNING TOUCHDOWNS. Colts take the kick, Manning takes a knee and it's off for more caffeine.
Vinatieri hits the end zone Broncos return it to the 26-yard line. Plummer to Walker incomplete – Mike Bell around the right side for four brings up third and six. Injury time out for Indy (N. Harper). Plummer again to Walker – again incomplete, Ernster nails a 45-yard punt and the Colts take over on their own 44-yard line.
Manning hits Harrison but the pass is ruled out of bounds IN-COM-PLETE. Ok, Manning to Harrison connects, Champ Bailey gets tagged for interference (declined) Colts grab a first on the Broncos 44. Deep ball to Harrison (again?) IN-COM-PLETE – Joe Addai on the run – first and ten from the 32. Manning to Reggie Wayne moves it to the 12-yard line another Colts first down – you guessed it – Manning hits Wayne for a TD – Indy trim the Denver lead 14-13. Drive covered six plays, 54-yards in just under two minutes.
Vinatieri strikes gold again and the Broncos take a touchback – first and ten from the twenty. Mike Bell picks up a hard two – Eric Pears jumps offsided by about two seconds and it brings up second and thirteen – Plummer's running for his life, sails it out of bounds and things look to be unraveling for Denver – Blitz nails Plummer – fumbles the ball but he's ruled down by contact – Indy challenges the call.
Not quite sure where the momentum went – but it's certainly not in Denver's corner right now. Call is overturned – fumbles stands and the Colts take over on the Denver 12-yard line. That was painful.
Manning dance around the backfield and finds an un-guarded Reggie Wayne in the end zone for his second TD of the half. PAT is good and Colts take the lead 20-14 with 8:54 remaining. Short, sweet and the Broncos may be in real trouble.
Special teams jacks it for Denver – illegal block to the back moves, what would have been a fairly nice return, back to the eighteen. Plummer to M. Bell good for seven, Bell up the middle good for 12-yards – Bell off tackle for seven, brings up second and three form the 35. Plummer to Scheffler (more tight end action) for a first down at the 39. Plummer to Scheffler (again) moves it to the Indy 48 and the Broncos are back on a roll.
J.P. to J.W for a first down at the 32 – Plummers connected on 12/19 for 165-yards to this point. Mike Bell good for six, brings up another first down from the 21-yard line. T. Bell to the right side for six, moves it to the 15 and second and four. End around to Scheffler misses by a yard bringing up 3rd and one. Cecil Sapp takes it down to the one and the Brocns face first and goal from three-feet away. Mike Bell high dive and Denver regains the lead 21-20 as the quarter comes to a close……
Nice drive for the Bronc's - 14 plays, 91-yards in 8:54. Ernster sail it five-yards deep and the Colts take over on their own twenty
The noise in the closed end of Invesco is frightening – but Manning moves on. Seventeen-yard completion to Addai quiets the crowd. Colts continue to roll – Manning to Clark for 17 moves it to the Denver 39.
Denver's first sack ignites the faithful, but ref's rule that the Broncos had called a time out prior to the play - so, there is no play and the Colts face a third and one. Manning's pass is IN-COM-PLETE - Colts settle for a field goal and a 23-21 lead.
Virtually no return game for Denver – another touchback brings it out to the 20.
Plummer again to Walker moves it out to the 33 – M. Bell on the ground is good for ten and a first. Back to Bell – huge hole - good for nineteen-yards moves it past midfield at the 38. Too much of a good thing, Bell dropped for five. Ok, I guess it's never too much, Bell up the middle for 14 moves it to the Colts 29-yard line and a third and one.
Do I really need to say this is a huge play….
Sapp - up the middle for 28-yards rolls it to the one - Bell goes untouched for a Denver touchdown. PAT is automatic and Broncos regain the lead 28-23 at the 6:54 mark.
Ernster is solid – kick sail through the end zone and Colts take over on the twenty.
Welcome to Denver….enjoy the noise.
"You're Welcome" – Manning connects for 28-yards - moves it to the 48 and the volume fades (temporarily). Back to back cmpletions roll it down to the 28-yard line and a first and ten.
More Manning dance in the backfield – completion to Wayne good enough for an Indy score – Two point conversion to Wayne is good and the Colts pull out a 31-28 lead with 3:35 remaining.
After the kickoff, Mike Bell reels off a 47 yard run, the longest of the day. Tatum Bell relieves Mike but is stopped for no gain on first down. Mike Bell comes back in but only gains a yard. On third down Jake Plummer is forced out of the pocket under heavy pressure from Dwight Freeney and throws the ball short for Javon Walker. On fourth down Jason Elam converts a 49 yard field goal to tie the score at 31 all.
With 1:49 left in the game, the Colts take over on the 20 after another Paul Ernster kick sails through the end zone. As he's done all game, Peyton Manning moves his team down the field as the clock winds down with more passes to Reggie Wayne mixed with Addai runs.
Not looking good for the Broncos as the clock continues to wind down. With six seconds left, Indianapolis calls time out and brings in Adam Vinatieri for a 36 yard field goal try, almost a chip shot for the sure footed kicker.
Vinatieri's shot is perfect and all that's left is a meaningless kickoff with two seconds left and a Colt 34-31 win over the Broncos.
The Broncos drop to 5-2 for the season.
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