ANDERSON, Ind. —
Another game, another milestone for Peyton Manning.
The Indianapolis Colts (5-2) quarterback will start his 200th consecutive game today against the Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) at Lincoln Financial Field. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is the only other quarterback in NFL history with 200 consecutive starts.
“Some days it does, some days it doesn’t, I guess,” Manning said of whether it feels like he’s played in 200 games. “The fun part about that is that a lot of those 200 have been wins and hard-fought wins. I think it’s the preparation and working with all the different teammates through all those that really kind of makes it gratifying.”
The opposing quarterback today, Philadelphia’s Michael Vick, is making his first start since a Week 4 loss against the Washington Redskins.
Vick has been reborn this season. In four games, including three starts, he’s completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 799 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. His quarterback rating (108.8) is by far the highest of his career.
While he’s improved his accuracy and become a greater threat throwing the ball, Vick’s vaunted running game has not suffered. He’s just more likely to pick his spots.
He’s run for 187 yards and one touchdown, but he averages 7.2 yards per carry.
“He extends plays, and yet still he has the ability to create opportunities for his receivers if they just keep moving along with him,” Colts head coach Jim Caldwell said. “He is very dangerous.”
Manning said Vick’s presence on the other side of the ball puts pressure on Indianapolis’ offense as well.
“All I think about for this week that factors into our game plan is we’re going to have to score some points,” he said. “At any given time, the deep ball or the long run, our defense is in for a tough challenge.”
It looks as though the Colts might get cornerback Jacob Lacey and rookie linebacker Kavell Conner back this week, and defensive end Robert Mathis practiced Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury. But cornerback Jerraud Powers is listed as questionable again this week and hasn’t practiced.
The offense took another hit Saturday, as well, when wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez became the latest player to be placed on injured reserve. He suffered a knee injury during Monday’s win against the Houston Texans when he was tackled out of bounds.
Gonzalez is expected to be replaced by Austin Collie, who missed just Monday’s game after undergoing thumb surgery during the bye week.
“He has come along quickly,” Caldwell said. “But that is also why we love the benefit of time and try to use every bit of it. Because, I think I mentioned this the other day, the doctors say you have to treat the diagnosis, but you also have to treat the patient. Some times the patient can overcome some situations, and that is indeed the case with Austin.”
The outlook is not as bright at running back.
Joseph Addai and Mike Hart did not make the trip to Philadelphia after sitting out practice all week with neck and ankle injuries, respectively.
Donald Brown likely will get his first start of the season. Javarris James and newly re-signed Andre Brown will be his backups.
Indianapolis has dealt with injuries throughout the season, and now weeks like this have become routine.
“You saw a lot of new faces (last week),” Manning said. “You could see even more new faces this Sunday. We kind of find out as the week goes on who’s going to be available to play, who’s going to be available to practice. In some ways, you have to be kind of flexible and just have to really focus in on doing your job.”
The Colts have been doing their job with increasing consistency. The win against Houston gave them three in a row for the first time this season, and they enter today’s game alone in first place in the AFC South.
But the Eagles have had two weeks to prepare for today’s game, and Philadelphia is 11-0 following a bye week under head coach Andy Reid.
Despite an NFL-record string of seven consecutive 12-win seasons, Manning said he still appreciates how difficult it is to get a victory on any given Sunday.
“It still is hard,” he said. “It was hard (Monday) night, and I know it will be really hard on Sunday.”
Colts' QB ready for shootout with Eagles, Vick
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Another game, another milestone for Peyton Manning.
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