After defeating the Denver Broncos in Saturday's AFC Divisional Playoff, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis said it was the Seattle Seahawks that provided the blueprint for beating Peyton Manning and his high-powered offense in last year's Super Bowl.
The Colts earned a 24-13 win after holding Manning to a 26-of-46 performance for 211 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos went just 4-of-16 on third downs, and after scoring the game's first points five minutes in on a 1-yard pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas, managed only a pair of field goals the rest of the way.
According to Zak Keefer of The Indianapolis Star:
"Seattle gave us the blueprint in the Super Bowl," Davis said, alluding to the Seahawks' dominant 43-8 pasting of Manning and Denver in last February's Super Bowl. "What we did was similar to what Seattle did, as far as taking their receivers away."
Only one Broncos receiver (Thomas) with multiple receptions averaged more than 10 yards per reception. Davis finished with a game-high five pass deflections and eight tackles, second on the Colts' defense.
In Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle's first points came 12 seconds in on a safety, and the Seahawks scored 36 unanswered points before the Broncos scored a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter. Manning finished 34-of-49 for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions -- one of which was returned for a Seahawks touchdown in the second quarter.
Injury could have also played a significant role in Manning's supbar outing on Sunday. Monday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the 38-year-old quarterback played with a torn right quad for the last month. Manning reportedly tore the quad during a Dec. 14 win over the San Diego Chargers, and a MRI later confirmed the tear. Including Sunday's loss, Denver went 1-2 following the injury. Manning threw four interceptions in the game immediately after sustaining the tear, a 37-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Mike Fiammetta