QB-PEYTON MANNING(on lots to be gained with a win on Sunday) 12/22/04
"Absolutely. It's obviously a big game for us, a lot of things on the line. But I think the most important thing for us, as (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy has said all along, is just to try to keep playing well in the month of December. Hopefully if you play well, that's going to result in a win. We've had two good wins so far this month and we just want to keep the momentum going. But we're probably playing, arguably, one of the top teams in the NFL and definitely one of the top teams we've played all season. They've won eight in a row and it will just be a tremendous challenge."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on how important playoff seeding is at this point) 12/22/04
"It's not something that we're talking about as far as in the game plan and on the practice field. (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy is a guy that does point out scenarios, but all those things, you hope they take care of themselves. But what we have to do is keep winning games, and that's all we're really talking about."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on still having a shot at the No. 1 seed) 12/22/04
"All we can worry about is winning our game. That's all the team and the coaches can really focus on, especially during the week of practice."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on the balance of running and passing in the Colts' scheme) 12/22/04
"That's what we've always tried to achieve, is to have balance. A good run mix, a good drop-back pass mix, a good play action pass mix, that's something we've always tried to have. Some games you're going to have it more than others, but that's kind of our goal going into each game, to have a good balance and try to keep the defense off balance."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on being named to the Pro Bowl team) 12/22/04
"I certainly appreciate it. I know it's voted on by your peers, other coaches and the fans. I'm proud to represent the Colts there. I'm real happy for Marvin (Harrison), Edgerrin (James) and Dwight (Freeney). I know every team says this every year, that they have guys that they think should go, but I'm no different. It's still hard to believe that we haven't had an offensive lineman go. And yeah, it's hard for me to pick one of those, because my locker sits here amongst all of these guys, and I'm appreciative of every single one of them.
"One guy that, and I knew it was going to be hard because it hasn't happened very often, but who I feel has had a true Pro Bowl year, is Reggie Wayne. What he's done for this offense and kind of what he's done for me, just being able to work that left side constantly during games. I know (Torry) Holt and (Isaac) Bruce did it a couple of years ago in St. Louis, but besides that, it hasn't been very common for two receivers from one team to go…but I think Reggie has really had a Pro Bowl year. I was disappointed about him as one guy that kind of jumped out to me."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on if WR-Reggie Wayne has stepped his game up this year) 12/22/04
"Everything's just kind of added up. I think catching the ball in his hands better than any other player in the NFL. And what that allows you to do, there's no wasted time getting the ball and getting up field. That's a tremendous asset for him. He makes adjustments. You see us constantly throwing that under throw, that back-shoulder throw, and it's not something that's easy to do. His work ethic, I think, is one of his biggest attributes as well. Catching the ball in his hands has been a big difference in this offense and what he's allowed us to do, getting the plays to him."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on if the back-shoulder is a mid-route adjustment) 12/22/04
"It changes. Sometimes, you do call it. Teams do call, they have it as a particular route. Sometimes, it's an adjustment and sometimes, just right as the ball's being released. It's hard to practice it with a guy because every cover is going to be a little bit different. Then what you get, you find the corner start to play the back-shoulder, and then you just throw the deep one. I know a lot of corners would say that's one of the toughest plays to defend, that not any receiver can do it, and Reggie does it as good as anybody."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on possibly having three 1000-yard receivers) 12/22/04
"Like I said, the idea is to win the game, and I think for us to win, we're going to need some big plays out of those guys. I've always said anything that happens along the lines of winning is fine, but we're just going to do whatever it takes to try to get a win this game."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on RB-Edgerrin James getting back to the Pro Bowl) 12/22/04
"He's had an outstanding year. I think some people said it's been somewhat unnoticed, but not around here, and not in this locker room for what he's done in the run game, in the pass protection game…I mean, he blocked a ton of one-on-one blocks against Ray Lewis and blitzing safties and linebackers (against Baltimore). And then catching the ball out of the backfield, he's just had an outstanding year."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on how much he can appreciate the year QB-Drew Brees is having) 12/22/04
"I've been real impressed with the year that Drew's had. I've been impressed, but not surprised. I know he has a tremendous work ethic. I've gotten to know him for a number of years now. He has really made some critical plays at some critical times, which is the key to a quarterback. He's using his tight end (Antonio Gates), LaDainian Tomlinson, and he's just a huge part of their success this year."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on how QB-Drew Brees has done given the situation he was in at the beginning of the year) 12/22/04
"Well, every quarterback is in a unique situation. I've always pulled for quarterbacks. I think it's kind of a unique fraternity. Just the way he's played this year, and really, that team's really rallied around him. It's a great credit to him. I know he's not looking in the past. He's just talking about right now, and he's just had an outstanding season."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on how difficult it is for a team to turn things around from one season to another in the NFL) 12/22/04
"Well, I think the thing that you have to realize is that what happened the year before is really over with, and that's an old cliché I guess, but the 2004 Chargers are a hot team. They are 11-3 and it really has nothing to do with the 2003 Chargers, much like us this year. This is the 2004 Colts. We feel like we're trying to establish our own identity and trying to make this a great season for us. That's why every year is different, every week is different. They've had an outstanding year and it's going to be a really tough game on Sunday."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on the record-setting numbers of votes this year in Pro Bowl balloting) 12/22/04"I t