Manning only 159 yards away from becoming fourth player with 50,000

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning makes milestones seem routine.

INDIANAPOLIS — Peyton Manning makes milestones seem routine.

Winning three MVPs and in position for a record fourth?

Just another typical Manning season.

Breaking John Unitas’ franchise record for wins, passing Fran Tarkenton for third on the career TD list, moving past Warren Moon and John Elway for third on the career completions chart? All part of the job.

Now Manning can become the fourth member of the NFL’s 50,000-yard club — if he plays long enough to throw for 159 yards Sunday against the New York Jets.

Not that Manning is thinking about it.

“We’re right in the middle of the season, and there’s so much going on, so much at stake,” he said Wednesday.

“Coach (Jim) Caldwell’s instructions were the same as they have been each week: ‘Here’s what we’ve got to do to win the ballgame, now please go out and do it.”’

Neither Manning nor Caldwell have said how long the quarterback will play.

On any other week, even against the league’s No. 1 pass defence, 159 yards would seem like a sure thing.

But with the Colts wrapping up the AFC’s top seed two weeks ago, Indy’s biggest concern is keeping its starters healthy for the playoffs, and nobody will say if the starters will be pulled early.

Clearly, there are still some significant things at stake Sunday.

A win would make Indy the second team in league history to go 15-0 in the regular season and would wrap up a perfect home season for only the second time since the franchise moved from Baltimore.

The other time was 2006, when the Colts won the Super Bowl.

Players are also chasing individual goals, incentive bonuses and perhaps some post-season awards.

Three-time Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne needs eight receptions for his second 100-catch season.

Tight end Dallas Clark needs three yards for his first 1,000-yard season, and 11 catches to reach 100.

With three more catches, Pierre Garcon would become the fifth Colts receiver with 50 catches this season, a first in franchise history.

And then there’s Manning, who needs one more 300-yard game to tie the single season record (10), set by Rich Gannon in 2002 and matched last year by Drew Brees. Manning also had a 299-yard game against Baltimore last month.

The more likely scenario, however, is Manning joining Brett Favre, Dan Marino and Elway in the exclusive 50,000 club — a number that boggles the mind of those who know Manning best.

“Wow! That’s impressive,” Clark said.

“But with him, you really don’t get shocked too much.”

That’s because of Manning’s work ethic.

When the Colts took him with the top overall pick in the 1998 draft, the Louisiana native already had a strong pedigree and the resume of a winner.

But instead of relying on his surname, past successes or the prestige of being a No. 1 pick, Manning became the consummate student. He spent countless hours working on timing with former teammates like Marvin Harrison and Ken Dilger, and was a workaholic in the film room, too.

Over the past 12 seasons, Manning hasn’t changed — or forgotten — much. He refers to opposing players by name rather than numbers, can cite background information about them, and remembers virtually everything he’s ever done on the field — good and bad.

On Wednesday, Manning was asked if he could understand the struggles Jets rookie Mark Sanchez has endured in a 7-7 season.

“No, I won three games as a rookie, I set the (interceptions) record (by a rookie) and I’ve been waiting 12 years for someone to break it,” Manning said. “So, no, I can’t relate to him.”

Instead, Manning just keeps challenging other marks.

He has never missed a start, and in this decade, Manning has led the Colts to a record seven straight 12-win seasons, the most wins by any team in any decade (115) and most consecutive regular-season wins (23). His three MVP awards are tied with Favre for the most ever, and even if Manning sits out most of the next two games, it may not be enough to prevent him from becoming the first two-time back-to-back winner.

“He’s still the same guy that destroys everybody. He’s phenomenal,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “I don’t like playing him when we play him, but I respect him more than any player in the NFL. He’s the best, he may go down as the best quarterback of all-time. … Shoot, if they want to get rid of him, we’ll go ahead and take him.”

For now, the Colts are content to let him keep achieving new milestones.

“I guess it never gets old,” middle linebacker Gary Brackett said of Manning’s next looming achievement. “Every week, it seems like he breaks a new record. He’s just done a tremendous job.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

Protesters
UPDATE: Rally held outside Red Deer court for slain central Alberta man

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Hog slaughter operations resumed on Thursday at Red Deer’s Olymel plant, which was closed for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers. Three employee deaths resulted from the latest outbreak. (Advocate file photo).
Hog slaughtering operations gear up again at Red Deer’s Olymel plant

Workers begin to return after 14-day closure due to COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Canada’s chief medical adviser says her department is constantly receiving and reviewing any data on vaccines and COVID-19 variants and will be quickly ready to authorize needed boosters when they’re ready. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health Canada says vaccine boosters will be approved more easily

OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won’t require new clinical trial data… Continue reading

Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Dias says Air Canada is pledging passenger refunds as negotiations over federal aid for airlines drag on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Unifor’s Dias says Air Canada holding to refund pledge as aid negotiations drag on

OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

Most Read