Five keys to the Colts 39-33 victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos:
1. Pressure on Peyton: A Robert Mathis sack of Peyton Manning in the second quarter translated to more than just a safety. It rattled the visiting quarterback, who struggled for much of two quarters while the Colts built a 19-point lead. Mathis sacked him another time, as did Jerrell Freeman and Fili Moala. And Erik Walden got a hand on a Manning pass to cause a fourth-quarter interception.
2. The other QB shines: Andrew Luck, the forgotten man with so much made of Manning’s return, outplayed his childhood idol through three quarters with three touchdown passes and a scoring run.
3. Stronger ‘D’ this time: A Colts defense that couldn’t stop San Diego’s run game Monday night stuffed the Broncos on third-and-1 twice in the opening quarter and the trend continued. Denver converted only one of its first nine third-down chances.
4. Fullback changes game twice: Colts fullback Stanley Havili made two big plays in the second quarter. He stripped the ball from the Broncos’ Trindon Holliday on a punt return to set up a Luck TD pass on the next play for a 10-7 lead. Havili later caught a 20-yard TD pass to push the Colts back ahead 19-14.
5. Walden causes two turnovers late: Just when it seemed as if the stage was set for another Manning comeback, two turnovers nixed that. Walden’s hit on Manning led to a flutter ball that Pat Angerer caught for an interception. Walden then drilled running back Ronnie Hillman, who fumbled at the Colts’ 3-yard line and safety Antoine Bethea recovered in the final minutes.
Peyton Manning smiled and waved to an appreciative sellout crowd during a standing ovation just before kickoff in his return to Indianapolis Sunday night.
Then the Colts humbled their former quarterback 39-33 at Lucas Oil Stadium to snap Denver’s 17-game regular-season win streak.