Sports scene

Last Sunday, Peyton Manning proved he could overcome the Patriots curse that he and the Indianapolis Colts had endured twice before. After all, it was New England that thwarted the Colts’ chances of getting to a Super Bowl in the 2004 and 2005 American Football Conference Playoffs.

Manning willed his team down the field in the closing minutes of the AFC Title Game Jan. 21. He led the Colts back to an improbable victory, in the final minutes of the game, just like Tom Brady has done for the Patriots in the past.

After New England defensive back Asanti Samuel picked off an errant Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown midway through the 2nd quarter to give the Patriots a 21-3 lead, it looked to be another impressive run by New England.

The Colts became a different team in the second half and stormed back. It scored 32 points, including the game winning play on a late Joseph Addai touchdown run that gave the Colts a 38-34 victory.

Pressure Still on Manning

However, Manning has yet to silence all of his critics. Despite winning the AFC, he hasn’t managed to get the proverbial “monkey off of his back.” But this time, the pressure is squarely on his shoulders. If the Colts win the Super Bowl, it’s because of Manning, even if he has a sub par performance. If the Colts lose, however, Manning will receive a majority of the blame, even if he plays the game of his life.

With the emphasis of the attention on Manning, Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman has been lost in the shuffle. Grossman’s season-long struggles are well-documented. Quarterback ratings of 0, 1.3, and multiple mental mistakes have been low lighting Grossman’s turbulent season.

In the majority of Chicago’s wins, Grossman’s critics have said that the Bears won “in spite of Rex Grossman.” This was evident in the Bears’ Oct. 16 game against Arizona, where he committed six turnovers against the lowly Cardinals. Indy’s defense will provide one of Grossman’s biggest challenges this season. The Colts’ defense has improved vastly over the last two months.

Mentor vs. Prot