QB-PEYTON MANNING(on possibly clinching the division and a playoff spot this weekend) 12/8/04
"It's a good opportunity. That's really been the goal for us all along, is to try to win the division. (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy has always been very clear about that, that it's going to be the goal from the get-go, to try to take care of that first. And we have the opportunity to do it. But, that will be a tough challenge going down there, to Houston, especially playing at their place."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on being in striking distance of breaking the TD pass record of 48) 12/8/04
"It really hasn't crossed my mind as far as that idea. Like I said, the opportunity is to go down there and try to get a win and try to capture the AFC South. It's a competitive conference, and I know I've repeated it over and over again, but just to be able to get into the playoffs in the AFC is quite an accomplishment, I think. And to have the chance to do it early, guarantee you a spot, is something you want to take advantage of. We had an opportunity like this last year. I can't remember if it was for the division, but it was for a good spot, and we missed it at playing Denverhere at home. So, it's an opportunity you want to take advantage of, but like I said, it's going to be a tough challenge. That's really what it's all about, is trying to win games, and you can't really worry about anything else."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on if it would be nice to get the record out of the way so he's not asked about it all of the time) 12/8/04
"Like I said, I hate to keep killing you with these boring answers, but I just can't get into it. Teams are playing you different ways. I thought Tennesseewas really cognizant down there in the red zone of playing the pass. They had a couple of defenders that were just staring at Brandon Stokley the entire time, and Edgerrin James is running with the ball untouched. If teams want to play the run, then obviously the pass may be there, but if they are going to play the pass, we've always been a team that has run the ball. A classic example, we had a 3rd-and-4, at a kind of pivotal point in the game, and we ran the ball and Tennesseewas playing pass coverage. So, you still have to just follow the read, whether it's throwing touchdowns or handing off to Edgerrin James. The idea, though, is to keep trying to score points."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on no one ever talking about RB-Edgerrin James despite almost leading the league in rushing) 12/8/04
"I don't really know who 'no one' is referring to, because obviously around here, he's very popular and he's so crucial to the offense, what we're able to do. Certainly the play action has been a huge part of our offense this year, and I've always said this, that play action just doesn't work, and our team has been an example a couple of years. When Edgerrin was hurt or maybe not quite 100 percent, teams weren't biting on the fakes quite as much. But with him back there, linebackers or safties, even corners sometimes, are respecting the run. And it's just a real credit to him and his presence. He's running the ball extremely well, making plays with the ball in the passing game. I just can't state enough how important he is to the offense."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on with him saying at the beginning of the season he wanted a 70 percent completion rate, if he felt the offense had the potential to be productive as it has) 12/8/04
"The 70-percent goal was kind of just a goal (Offensive Coordinator) Tom Moore had, just kind of for the offense. Tom has goals, and that's just one of the things he set. It's always nice to aim high. Offensively, we had a lot of the same players back, but we emphasized certain things in the offseason about improving in the red zone, about being a little better on third down, about protecting the ball a little bit better, and in the games we've won, we've done those things. And that's the idea, to keep doing those things during these last games. But it's still week to week. Our offensive players have shown up each week and have made plays at the critical times, but because you did it last Sunday doesn't mean you're going to do it the next Sunday. You still have to show up during the week of practice and get better and show up every single Sunday. Hopefully, we can keep doing that."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on possibly having three 1,000 receivers and three 10 TD receivers) 12/8/04
"Like I said, I'm real proud of those guys, the years they've had. I think one thing, I've said this a number of times, it hasn't happened by accident. Those guys, along with myself, have spent a lot of time here in the months of March and April and May, when maybe coaches aren't around and it's not an organized workout, working on routes vs. zone coverage or man coverage, scramble drills, communicating during special teams periods about adjustments on routes. Every team has guys with good arms and good receivers, but I feel like we've truly put in some extra work to kind of get things the way they are right now. And we're reaping the benefits of that work in the offseason and of our off-the-field communication, whether it's in the locker room or in meetings or the weight room. But I'm real proud of those guys for their work ethic. I'm happy for them. I hope those are records those guys can break, because I'm just real happy for all of those guys."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on Houstonbelieving they were disrespected by the Colts scoring so many points and possibly running up the score in their last meeting) 12/8/04
"I really don't know. I know it's a division game. It's the second time we play them, and I've always felt the second time around, it's always tough, especially in the division with a team that is as familiar with us as anybody else in the league. And we're familiar with their personnel, too. It usually comes down to execution. That was not the case in the first game. I'm not going to get into the whole fourth quarter. But (Head) Coach (Tony) Dungy, there's not a classier coach in the league, and we followed his orders. It was a good win the first time, but it's a totally different ballgame. And playing at their place is always tough to play."
QB-PEYTON MANNING(on if he can describe the feeling of being in the no huddle, walking up to the line and knowing what he's going to do, thinking it's going to work) 12/8/04
"I think that's a big part of it, is having confidence. And I guess the best thing we have is prior experience to refer to, whether it's a 3rd-and-10 or it's a two-minute drill where you have to get a field goal or a touchdown. And I think the guys in the huddle, we've been there before. So, you can say, 'Hey guys, we were down in Tampa, we had to come back and score, we did it. We had this 3rd-and-15 that we had to get two weeks ago and we got it.' So, it's nice to have that, kind of 'we've done this before' type deal. Everybody's on the same page. The offensive linemen obviously have shuffled this year, but for the most part, out wide and behind me, the skill positions, guys are on the same page. Gu