This is a game which will have an unbelievable number of story lines surrounding it. The Broncos have been owned by the Colts over the last decade plus. Since 2001, Indianapolis has won six out of eight regular season meetings and both of the postseason meetings. In other words, the Colts have won eight out of the last ten meetings and have won four straight (five if you include the 2004 playoff meeting). Having said that, we must also acknowledge that it was the Peyton Manning-led Colts who have so dominated the Broncos. The question becomes, can the Manning-led Broncos dominate Indianapolis in the same way?
Denver's last victory over the Colts came in Indianapolis on Week 17 of the 2004 season. The Broncos were 9-6-0 and fighting for a playoff berth while the Colts 12-3-0 with a playoff berth already wrapped up. As a result, the majority of their starters saw limited playing time. Despite a 33-14 final score, Denver struggled to pull away from the Colts' substitutes. The Colts led 7-0 in the first quarter before the Broncos got their offense going. Denver built up a 17-7 lead in the second quarter but Indianapolis was able to trail by just three at the half. Denver owned the second half, but were only able to put the ball in the end zone once, the rest of their scoring came on three Jason Elam field goals. This game would be the last time that the Broncos would defeat Indianapolis in the regular season for the next eight years.
The two teams next met in Denver on Week 8 of the 2006 season. Through the first two quarters it looked as though the Broncos might win two times in a row after taking a 14-6 lead in with them at halftime. This was not to be. The Broncos were forced to punt on the opening possession of the second half. Manning led the Colts for a touchdown to make the score 14-13. A Jake Plummer fumble led to another Indianapolis touchdown and a 20-14 Colts' lead. Denver battled back, scoring a touchdown as time ran out in the third quarter to take a 21-20 lead. Indianapolis answered, in the fourth quarter, with a field goal to go up 23-21. The Broncos regained the lead (28-23) on a 1-yard touchdown run by Mike Bell, but Manning led the Colts to a touchdown on the following possession to take a 31-28 lead. A 49-yard Jason Elam field goal tied the game at 31-31 with 1:49 left in the game. Manning was not to be denied, however, picking apart the Denver defense as he moved the Colts from their own 20-yard line to the Broncos' 18-yard line. Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal with 0:06 left on the clock.
The 2007 meeting between Denver and the Colts (Week 4 in Indianapolis) was an offensive showcase with the teams combining for 773 total yards (449 of those yards were on the ground). The Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead, then a 13-7 lead but trailed 14-13 at the half. The second half belonged to the Colts. Indianapolis scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the half to go up 21-13. A Jay Cutler interception was converted into another touchdown to make the score 28-13. Cutler redeemed himself by leading Denver on a 15-play, 79-yard drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Cutler to bring the Broncos to eight points down (28-20). Unfortunately, Indianapolis answered with another touchdown drive to make the score 35-20. A Broncos' punt was followed by a Colts' field goal which finished the scoring at 38-20.
When these two teams met in Indianapolis on Week 14 of the 2009 season, the Colts were riding a 12-game winning streak while the 8-4-0 Broncos had won six games, lost four, then won two more. Denver surrendered a touchdown on the opening drive of the game to fall behind 7-0. A Broncos' punt was followed by another Indianapolis touchdown and a 14-0 deficit. Two more failed drives by Denver (and one by the Colts) were followed by a third Indianapolis touchdown. Trailing 21-0, Kyle Orton and the Broncos' offense finally put together a touchdown drive of their own to trail 21-7 at the half. Neither team's offense was effective in the third quarter allowing Denver to narrow the lead to 21-10 on a Matt Prater field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Broncos were able to close the gap to 21-16 on an Orton to Brandon Marshall pass (the two-point conversion attempt failed). The Colts responded with their final touchdown drive of the game to take a 28-16 lead. Denver was not able to muster another scoring drive.
The most recent game between the Broncos and the Colts was played in Denver on Week 3 of the 2010 season. In his final active season as a Colt, Manning continued his mastery of the Broncos. Manning threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns as Indianapolis downed Denver 27-13. The Colts jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter which became 13-0 then 13-3 in the second. Denver made it 13-10 in the third quarter but Indianapolis responded to make it 20-10. A Prater field gold in the third made it 20-13. The Colts put the game out of reach in the fourth when Manning connected with Austin Collie for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 4:34 left in the game.
Overall, Denver is 11-8-0 in the regular season versus the Colts and 0-2 in the postseason. How do you like their chances in October?