Broncos View Colts’ Offense as One of the Best Ever
INDIANAPOLIS — John Lynch has seen this kind of thing before — a high-scoring offense, one considered among the best ever.
He saw it in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
That offense belonged to the St. Louis Rams.
Lynch, at the time, was a safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This week, when Lynch — now a Pro Bowl safety with the Denver Broncos — watched tape of the Broncos’ opponent this weekend, he said he saw something strikingly efficient, impressive and potent:
The 2004 Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts, Lynch said, are the most high-powered offense he has faced in his NFL career.
Better than anyone . . .
Even the 1999-2001 Rams?
A team that scored 526 points in 1999, 540 in 2000 and 503 in 2001?
The Colts, who clinched the AFC South three weeks ago, have won eight consecutive games and this past week they clinched the third seed in the AFC. That means that for the Colts, Sunday’s game in Denver means nothing in terms of the playoff standings.
Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said this week the Colts will focus on winning, and the team plans to play its offensive and defensive starters.
Colts players this week said they didn’t know how long they will play, and Dungy said he doesn’t, either, but backup quarterback Jim Sorgi said he expects he will play.
That means the Colts’ offense may not play the entire game Sunday, but through 15 games, they have put up dominant numbers:
The Colts are first in the NFL in total offense.
They’re first in the league in points scored.
They led the NFL in red-zone efficiency until two weeks ago, and with a week remaining, their 508 points is the seventh most in NFL history.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, recently voted to his fifth Pro Bowl in six seasons, has had one of the most dominant statistical seasons in NFL history, completing 335 of 495 passes for 4,551 yards and 49 touchdowns with 10 interceptions for a 121.4 passer rating.
Last week against the San Diego Chargers, Manning threw two touchdowns passes to break former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino’s record for single-season touchdown passes. Marino threw 48 in 1984.
The Colts’ offense this season goes beyond Manning. The offense line has allowed 10 sacks in 15 games, and the wide receivers Brandon Stokley, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne each had more than 1,000 yards receiving and at least 10 touchdowns receiving.
No team in NFL history has had three receivers with 10 or more touchdowns, and only three other teams — the 1980 San Diego Chargers, the 1989 Washington Redskins and the 1995 Atlanta Falcons — have had three receivers with more than 1,000 yards receiving.
Edgerrin James, the Colts’ running back, leads the AFC with 1,550 yards and nine touchdowns rushing on 333 carries, and it’s the balance — with Manning, James, Stokley, Wayne, Harrison and tight ends Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard all playing at a high level — that has made the Colts particularly potent, Lynch said this week.