The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts were set to play the game of Week 7 on Oct. 20. But while few disputed that, few figured that the Colts and Andrew Luck could beat the Broncos and Peyton Manning, and not just because Manning was back in Indianapolis. Yet Manning was almost a non-factor for the first three quarters, making his late rally too little, too late as the Colts held on by 39-33.
After six weeks of the Broncos blowing almost everyone out of the water, it almost looked like the Colts would return the favor. With 13 minutes left, the Colts had stretched their lead to 36-17, as Manning had been shut down after two early touchdowns. Luck carved the Broncos up by inches, ultimately ending up with 228, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
But after the Broncos cut the lead to 36-23, Trent Richardson made the Colts’ biggest mistake with a fumble. This led to a score that closed Denver to within 36-30, as it looked like a vintage Manning comeback in his old home was inevitable. Yet after Luck drove Indianapolis to a field goal, Denver marched down the field until Ronnie Hillman coughed up a questionable fumble near the goal line.
All of a sudden, the Broncos went from a potential 16-0 team to one that’s in second place in their own division. With the Kansas City Chiefs the last unbeaten left in the NFL, the Broncos and Manning suddenly look human, while the Colts furthered their newfound reputation as giant killers.
Before the Colts slayed their former quarterback, there were several other shootouts and photo finishes during the day. Here is a full list of the best and worst games of Week 7 on Oct. 20.