INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass before being stopped by Rob Ninkovich #50 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Peyton Manning;Rob Ninkovich
The last time the Cowboys met Manning, it was at home in that glorious 13-3, one-and-done season a few years back, and the Cowboys shut down Manning and the Colts vaunted pass offense. Now, they meet again, in Indianapolis, with Dallas' season done and the Colts on the verge of disaster as they sit at 6-5 and could be .500 with a Cowboys win.
Manning is in the midst of one of the worst stretches of his career — having thrown seven interceptions in the last two games, which matches the worst two-game performance of his career, in losses to New England and San Diego.
Before that, it wasn't a lot better. Manning threw for 185 yards and no scores in a win over the hapless Bengals after throwing two picks in a loss to Philadelphia.
It can't get any worse for Manning, right?
It depends on how you look at it.
The Cowboys' pass defense has been anything but stellar this year, allowing 244 yards per game through the air, but they have been more opportunistic since Jason Garrett took over for Wade Phillips, picking off four passes in three games. The Dallas defense and DeMarcus Ware will pressure Manning, make no mistake about that. The Colts simply don't run the ball, as they have the second lowest run to pass ratio in the NFL behind Denver.
Manning's cupboard has been pretty bare this year as well with all of his star receivers seeing some time on the bench with injuries as Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie have all been injured. That has thrust Blair White into the spotlight. Yes, Blair White.
So will Manning's skid continue? It's hard to tell, but it just depends on what gives.