Indianapolis Colts: It’s ours to lose

This is our year.

This is the year that the Indianapolis Colts break free from their critics, and Peyton Manning finally gets the recognition he deserves.

Sure, I’ve heard it all before. I am quite aware of our track record of losing in the playoffs, and I am sick of hearing about Manning’s tendencies to choke.

I feel that this year will be different.

The Colts have proven that they can win close games and have gone into Denver and New England and come away with big wins.

I will not gloat at our victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. I do realize that would have been a different game if McNabb would have played.

A lot of people doubted our chances after Edgerrin James took the money and ran to Arizona.

However, rookie Joseph Addai has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Sharing the backfield with Dominic Rhodes, Addai leads all rookie rushers with 789 yards on 155 carries and has scored 7 rushing touchdowns. The former LSU Tiger will be a tremendous asset come playoff time.

This is not to say that we have not had a rocky season. With narrow victories over the Jets and Giants and losses to the Cowboys and the Titans, we are far from perfect.

Our run defense has been suspect at times and injuries have really hurt us. However, despite having to sideline some of our key players, we have fought hard and can still claim the best record in the league.

Week 13 will mark the much- needed returns of All-Pro safety Bob Sanders and key wide receiver Brandon Stokely.

Sanders’ presence has been severely missed in the past couple of weeks, and it will be nice to have him back.

I know a lot of people are talking about LaDainian Tomlinson as the league MVP, but I don’t think there is anyone more valuable to their team than our own Peyton Manning.

He is a proven winner whose patience in the pocket has given way to a more fluid and successful offense. This season, Manning has also showcased how clutch he can be with several game-winning drives.

Last but not least, we must do this for head coach Tony Dungy. Here we have a class act that deserves a lot of credit for the success of the Colts.

I doubt there is a more deserving coach in the league, and I would love to see him hoist up the Lombardi Trophy.

Of course I am haunted by last year’s debacle against the Steelers, and this year’s Ravens and Chargers teams are looking good. However, when we are on top of our game we are hard to beat.

There is absolutely no reason why the all of Indianapolis should not be celebrating on Feb. 4 of next year.

Managing Editor Caleb Sanders is from Huntington, Indiana and a Colts fan.

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