We knew it would come down to this.
It had to come down to this.
After the Colts beat the Broncos in 2013 and rained on Peyton Manning’s homecoming at Lucas Oil Stadium, the teams met up almost a year later and the Broncos handed the Colts a mile high loss in Denver to kick off the 2014 season.
We said it at the time and we echoed it all season…
“We’ll see them again in January.”
And here it is…January.
And here the Colts are…heading to Denver.
Four months later, much has changed for both teams. They’ve lost players and lost games and lost their way at times. But one thing remains. While 24 other teams are down and out, done for the season…the Colts and the Broncos are still standing. They overcame. And after Sunday, only one will remain.
Much will be made about the quarterbacks. As ESPN’s SportsCenter put it, “The young horse that runs fast. The old horse that knows the way.”
For Colts fans, it’s more than that. It’s bittersweet. It’s the guy who won the games, won the Super Bowl, and won our hearts…versus the guy who replaced him, won us over, and sooner than we expected.
For both Colts and Broncos fans, it’s not so much about the quarterbacks. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned this season, it’s that even Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning can’t do it alone. It takes a team effort to win in the playoffs. The fans know it. The coaches know it. And the players know it.
After beating the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round, it’s going to take every player the Colts have to beat the Broncos in Sunday’s divisional playoff game. The players feel like they have a little extra motivation after that week one loss. And they’ve had a lot of time to think about it.
“We have a nasty taste in our mouths,” Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson told the Indy Star’s Stephen Holder. “They handled us. We didn’t play our best game at all. That’s why I think a lot of guys have been quietly waiting for this opportunity. And here it is.”
Here it is.
And here we are.