On the Colts’ biggest play of the year, a third-and-six from the Jets’ 32-yard line with 1:02 left, Peyton Manning rolled out to his right. He didn’t have anyone wide open, but found a small window to throw to The Blair White Project.
The Colts’ shortcomings this year is encapsulated in that play.
Manning didn’t trust his pass protection or receiver enough to beat the Jets on one of his staple plays. White made a good effort, but couldn’t pull it off. Indy’s offense had to settle for a red zone field goal in their penultimate drive, and couldn’t run the clock out in their last drive.
This just wasn’t a dominant offense by the end of the year, and it needed to be.
The injuries on the Colts offense got all the attention, but the injuries to their defense were more devastating. Starters Clint Session, Kelvin Haden, Jerraud Powers, Bob Sanders, and Melvin Bullitt were all long gone by Saturday night’s game.
Add it all up, and Manning, 35, was dealt his tenth playoff loss. This was the seventh time his Colts were one-and-out in the playoffs.