A long-running opening act
INDIANAPOLIS — While there are enough of his battered teammates to fill a M*A*S*H ward, Peyton Manning continues to answer the call every week. The Colts quarterback has started all 201 games since he signed on as a rookie in 1998, the longest career-opening streak of any NFL signal-caller.
The 34-year-old Manning has taken every snap in 171 of those and has amassed 12,245 of a possible 12,669 overall and has only missed one snap because of injury, against Miami in 2001. In his 13 seasons, Manning has been the club’s only starting quarterback. During that time the Bears have been through 17, Browns 16, the Dolphins, Lions, Ravens, and Raiders 15 apiece. The Patriots have used only four starters — Drew Bledsoe, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and Scott Zolak. Manning has been under center for so long that he has thrown for more than 10,000 yards to two receivers — Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
After their meeting with New England, the Colts have a decidedly easier road to the playoffs. Their final six opponents — San Diego, Dallas, Tennessee (twice), Jacksonville, and Oakland — have a combined record of 21-24 and none is better than 5-4. Indianapolis is on track for its seventh AFC South title in eight years.
Hello, my name is . . . So, who is this Jacob Tamme person who has been filling in for Dallas Clark at tight end? He’s a third-year veteran out of Kentucky who’d been a special-teamer because Clark owned the job.
“He’s a new face to you, but not to us,’’ said coach Jim Caldwell. “He’s been with us a while and we knew that he was one of those guys who could run, he could make plays, he could catch.’’
Since Clark was put on injured reserve last month Tamme has stepped up to make 24 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s just a tremendously diligent individual,’’ said Caldwell. “He’s all about business.’’
Pick ’em up Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden may only have two interceptions this season but he has taken both of them back for touchdowns. “I’m getting kind of jealous because I know if I get a pick it’s diving or a tipped ball, getting tackled immediately,’’ joked Jerraud Powers, his bookend corner. “He gets a pick, he’s by himself down the sideline. He gets touchdowns, he reminds me every 20 minutes that he got a pick-6.’’ . . . The Colts’ injury list looked a little better with receivers Austin Collie (concussion) and Wayne (knee) back at practice and running back Joseph Addai (neck) a limited participant. Linebackers Gary Brackett (toe) and Clint Session (elbow) and safety Bob Sanders (elbow) were still absent.
John Powers can be reached at email@example.com.