Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos overcame a 24-point halftime deficit and beat the San Diego Chargers 35-24 Monday night, one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history.
After looking anemic in the first half, Denver's offense - with Manning in his first year as the team's quarterback - got going in the second half. Manning threw three touchdown passes in the half, and the Broncos defense intercepted Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers four times. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.
"We have been here before," said Manning, who completed 24 of 30 passes for 309 yards. "We know we have the ability to score quickly."
And that's just what Denver did. The Broncos opened the second half with an eight-play drive that went 85 yards for a touchdown.
The Chargers turned the ball over on their next possession for another Broncos touchdown. San Diego had six possessions in the second half and turned the ball over on five of them.
The victory leaves Denver and San Diego atop the AFC West, both at 3-3.
Only four teams have come back from larger deficits, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The largest of those was in a 1993 playoff game, when the Buffalo Bills trailed by 32 points against the Houston Oilers before coming back to win.
Manning has told his agent to begin contract negotiations with the Broncos, ESPN and the Post reported, both citing unnamed sources.
The Indianapolis Colts released Manning, a four-time National Football League Most Valuable Player, earlier this month as he was due to be paid a $28 million bonus if he remained on their roster.
Manning sat out the 2011 season after having surgeries on his neck. He has spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts.
Is free agent quarterback Peyton Manning less than 48 hours away from picking where he'll play in 2012?
Football writers in at least two cities are speculating that may be the case.
A report in The Denver Post says the Broncos, whom Manning visited Friday and Saturday, will begin contract talks with the four-time NFL most valuable player's agent, Tom Condon, on Monday.
"Manning was impressed with the Broncos," Mike Klis writes in Monday's Denver Post. "He liked front-office boss and star quarterback colleague John Elway. He liked coach John Fox. He talked 20 to 30 minutes with owner Pat Bowlen, who reiterated his position that division titles don't cut it with him. He wants Super Bowls."
Klis says Manning, who parted ways with the Indianapolis Colts last week, wants to make his decision by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Manning's second stop over the weekend was in Phoenix, where the Arizona Cardinals made their pitch for him.
[Updated at 12:48 p.m. ET] A tearful Peyton Manning announced the end of his 14-year career with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, but said he plans to be playing in the NFL again.
In a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay, the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player said circumstances had brought his time with the Colts to an end, despite both the wishes of him and Irsay that things could have worked out differently.
"It wasn't his decision. It wasn't my decision. Circumstances kind of dictated it," Manning said.
Manning did not play during the entire 2011 season after having surgery to repair a neck injury. With their longtime leader off the field, the Colts plummeted to a 2-14 record and earned the top pick in April's NFL Draft. That makes Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Baylor QB Robert Griffin III available to them. Both are considered franchise quarterbacks, much like Manning was when the Colts selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft. The Colts are expected to take Luck or Griffin and begin to rebuild the team.
Irsay said Wednesday keeping Manning during that rebuilding process wouldn't be fair to Manning and would prevent the team from having the money necessary to revamp its roster. The Colts would have owed Manning a $28 million bonus if he'd remained on their roster past Wednesday.
One of the NFL’s all-time elite quarterbacks is medically fit to resume playing after three neck surgeries and a season off, one of his surgeons says.
But the owner of Peyton Manning’s team pointed out in a tweet early Friday that the organization itself has yet to clear the 35-year-old, and NFL analysts said it’s still too soon to know whether he’ll have enough arm strength to compete.
The four-time NFL Most Valuable Player is “medically cleared to play professional football,” Dr. Robert Watkins Sr., Manning’s most recent surgeon, said in a statement Thursday night, according to NFL.com. Manning’s most recent surgery to relieve a pinched nerve - a single-level anterior fusion - came in September, sidelining him for the entire 2011 season, marking the first games he missed since his career began in 1998.
But Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has to decide by March 8 whether to pay Manning a $28 million bonus or release him, indicated early Friday what he’s been saying all week: The matter is far from settled.
“Peyton has not passed our physical nor has he been cleared to play for The Indianapolis Colts,” Irsay posted on Twitter early Friday. “Team statement coming on Friday.”
One day after the conclusion of the NFL regular season, league owners got their turn to even the score in some ways. The St. Louis Rams dumped head coach Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Billy Devaney on Monday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers canned head coach Raheem Morris.
And the ax may continue to fall, according to news reports around the league. Several coaches have been on the proverbial hot seat in recent months. On Monday, Tampa Bay and St. Louis stopped fumbling around.
On the team’s website, Rams owner E. Stanley Kroenke thanked the engineers of the team’s 2-14 season “for their dedication to the St. Louis Rams organization over the past several seasons.
"No one individual is to blame for this disappointing season and we all must hold ourselves accountable,” he said. “However, we believe it's in the best interest of the St. Louis Rams to make these changes as we continue our quest to build a team that consistently competes for playoffs and championships."
The owner of the Indianapolis Colts confirmed on Monday morning what most NFL fans expected - star quarterback Peyton Manning is unlikely to play again this season.
But Jim Irsay said he expects Manning back for the 2012 season.
"Peyton should be back. He had the neck fusion, it went well. The biggest thing is to get the regeneration back in the nerve in his throwing arm. We feel that it will. My anticipation is he can come back, probably 2012," Irsay said in a breakfast meeting with Super Bowl organizers and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to CNN affiliate WTHR-TV. "I don't see him coming back this year. It's possible he could practice in December. We'll see. I think he can come back and finish off a great career here."
In a later Twitter post, Irsay said the Colts would keep Manning on the active roster, and that there is an "outside chance" Manning could return in December.
Without Manning, the Colts have been winless this season, dropping games to Houston and Cleveland and then to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, 23-20.
Manning had surgery for a neck injury earlier this month, forcing him from the lineup for the first time in his 13-year NFL career.
In July, the Colts signed Manning, a four-time MVP, to a five-year, $90-million contract extension.
Kerry Collins has replaced Manning as the Colts quarterback.
Colts coach Jim Caldwell may have more information at a press conference later today.
Quarterback Peyton Manning has agreed to a five-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts for $90 million, according to NFL Network.
Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay confirmed the terms of the deal on his Twitter account.
The deal allows the four-time MVP to report to training camp at Anderson University in central Indiana, the club said on its website.
However, due to surgery he had in May, Manning will start the year on the training camp's "Physically Unable to Perform" list, the Colts said. Manning currently is undergoing daily rehabilitation sessions with the Colt’s medical staff.
“Signing Peyton was a top priority for this organization and we are thrilled that the deal is complete,” Irsay said. “We feel that it is a salary cap friendly deal and it allows us more flexibility.”
Manning led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2006 over the Chicago Bears. In 13 seasons, he has earned 11 Pro Bowl selections and started all 208 career games, the most games to start a career at any position in NFL history, according to the Colts' website. He has completed 4,682 of 7,210 passes for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns. On his next touchdown pass, Manning will join Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only players with 400 or more touchdown passes.
As Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts prepare to take on the New York Jets Saturday in the NFL playoffs, the MVP quarterback has already scored a victory of sorts.
Manning is No. 1 in marketability, according to Nielsen, which evaluated the "N-scores" of top playoff signal callers in conjunction with E-Poll Market Research, a consumer research firm.
"N-Score gauges the effects of positive and negative news about athletes and sports personalities," the report said.
Manning, who guided his team to a Super Bowl victory in 2007 and came within an errant pass short last year, rates the highest in a number of measurable categories related to brand impact, Nielsen said. He has a N-Score of 262.
As a four-time league MVP, Manning has a varied endorsement portfolio and has been featured in numerous, often humorous, television ad spots for top brands.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who also plays Saturday, came in second place with an N-Score of 166. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady came in third with a tally of 131.
“The N-Score is derived from a model that factors in audience awareness of an athlete, the overall appeal of the athlete and 46 specific personal attributes such as leadership and trustworthiness,” Nielsen’s report said.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick had a score of just 16, attributable to “lingering public displeasure with his conviction on dog fighting charges,” the report said.