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Colts Head Coach QB Peyton Manning Post-Game Press Conference Transcript

Colts QB Peyton Manning reacts to their loss against the Patriots in the AFC Divisional game at Gillette Stadium.

Q: Peyton, early on when the score was 3-0, 6-3, and you guys were heading into the second half, what were they doing defensively to take your rhythm away in the passing game and the long ball too as well?

PM: I don't know if there was necessarily anything they were doing. I don't know if our rhythm was necessarily taken away. But they did a good job tackling and they just didn't give up many big plays. So I don't really feel like getting into a lot of details and specifics of plays or whatnot. They just played better than we did overall and just did a good job of keeping us out of the red zone. Once we got there, they kept us out of the end zone.

Q: How difficult was it to take this loss for how high the expectations were for yourself and your team this year?

PM: Very difficult at this point. I had a good opportunity. I just didn't take advantage of it. But you have to give New England a lot of credit. They definitely deserved to win today.

Q: How damaging were the three scoring drives, one over nine, one over eight and another over seven?

PM: Yes. Obviously, their offense did a better job in the second half of maintaining the ball and scoring at the same time. They did a good job finishing those drives. So, we felt good at half time coming in, we felt like we found a little momentum there at the end of the first half. And now, six, three, and we got the ball right back. And then we just couldn't convert some of these third downs. But, it is disappointing because you feel like, okay, maybe we can kind of get something going now, and then the second half, the way they had the ball then, that is when you go back and start talking about the miscues in the first half and that is what you don't want to do because we had some misses in the first half and, you know, had kind of some rare drops. You know, when those happen, you want to say, All right, those are over with. But once they had the ball for so long in the second half, in the fourth quarter you start going we really missed some chances there early on. That was disappointing.

Q: Even then, can you see this offense being held to a field goal?

PM: Like I said, New England did a great job tackling and just kind of keeping things in front of them. And like I said, we had some pretty good drives there going into the second quarter. I had the fumble. [Tedy] Bruschi made a good play. That was disappointing. We had a good drive at the end of the half. Time dictated a little bit some of the play calls. They were dropping a lot of guys, but we got a good three points out of that. And like I said, the second half, we just weren't able to really stay on the field. You know, part of it was our defense, you know, not holding in; and part of it was us getting out there. And it kind of works both ways.

Q: What did you think about when you came out and saw that it was snowing, and what kind of impact did that have, if anything?

PM: None really. Like I said, we didn't really have any expectations or predictions on the weather. And I thought -- I didn't think it was really much of a factor.

Q: Not a lot of shots down field, was it just not a lot of positions second half or not?

PM: Just didn't really have some plays called at the right time, you know. It was, you know, it is something that we have had for the most part all season, we have had some right plays called at the right time, and we just didn't really have that tonight. You know, had some, you know, we got some good one-on-one looks. We had some runs, and then we had some shots down the field that they kind of had the better coverage for it. And it just kind of worked out that way so it was unfortunate.

Q: Peyton, can you think back to the first game at all, the opening game of the season and say, 'Well, if we have won that we would be home?'

PM: Well, we talked about that at the time after the first game because that was a disappointing loss and, you know, a game we felt like we really could have won. But I don't think many other teams that played in their first game talked like that game was going to decide whether these teams were going to play in the playoffs, but I certainly felt that way. I felt very confident we would see New England again. And after that loss, we felt like it was going to be back here. And but you know, like I said, they just outplayed us, regardless of where you were playing, and but that was -- that is not something we talked about this week. We talked about it at the time when that game happened.

Q: Peyton, you were pretty hard on yourself after last year's game. How do you feel like you performed today, any better?

PM: You know, the simple fact is we got beat. And I always feel like I need to do my part to help my team win. And usually I do. But, when you don't win, you know, I take it, like I said, take it personally and feel responsible and accountable, and so disappointed I couldn't do my job better to help my team win. But give New England a lot of credit.

Q: Are you satisfied that the offense was aggressive enough?

PM: Like I said, I really give New England the credit for, you know, for stopping us and keeping, keeping things in front of them. We had some -- we had some chances. You know, we just didn't really make enough plays.

Q: Do you think your season will be judged by your personal accomplishments this year or in losing this game?

PM: Well, it is probably not up to me. Unfortunately, I have always believed that a player does kind of define himself. I am starting to change those thoughts because there are so many opinions and experts talking about me and my career that I just sort of stopped trying to -- I can't really define it myself. I know it was an excellent run. It was a fun run but, you know, obviously, when you finish with a loss in the playoffs, it is disappointing and that is not the way you want to finish it. So I don't really get into, you know, talking about what we have done up to this point. The facts are, you know, we are going home, New England is playing next week. And you know, we would like to be playing next week and we are not. And it is disappointing. And you know, the only thing I can say is we keep giving ourselves chances. You know, I think about some teams that maybe lost in the playoffs last year and they kind of feel sorry for themselves and they end up going, you know, five and 11 the next year and don't give themselves another chance. You know, we have always seemed to be giving ourselves chances and we feel like eventually it will be our time and, obviously, it wasn't this year. Hopefully, we will be back next year. We can give it a shot and we will be back next year.

Q: So how will you define it, Peyton?

PM: I thought we had some great wins. You know, we really did some, made some crucial plays at some crucial times and really gave ourselves an excellent opportunity to get here. But you know, when we got here, we just didn't play like we wanted to play and so came up short. You know, that is how it will probably be defined. And you know, as far as what happened this year, the things, some of the things we had done versus some of the things maybe when I retire a long time from now you will look back and think about it. But right now it is hard to think about anything else besides losing this game.

Q: Peyton, they talk a lot about doing different things when they play you. Did they do anything different that you hadn't seen before today?

PM: Like I said, I am not really going to get into schemes. They have excellent personnel. And for the most part, no, to answer your question. But they just play well. They tackled well. They defended well. And just that is really kind of what it came down to. They played better on defense than we did on offense.

Q: Peyton, the false start, Tony [Dungy] said it was an obscure rule. Apparently, it took you by surprise.

PM: Yes, I don't know. It was something we put into work on all week and I guess we didn't, we didn't know the rule, I guess, I mean, essentially. But, it was we kind of worked to set it up. But he said I had to come to a complete stop, which, you know, we were not aware of that. So that was kind of disappointing.

Q: Peyton, are you to the point yet where you wonder how many shots it will take for you to get it in or --

PM: I mean you certainly know when you have an opportunity and you want to take advantage of that. And with all that we had done this year, it makes it even more disappointing. And you know, I am finished my seventh year and I have always played every year as if it was going to kind of be your last and you really play with a sense of urgency because I have heard guys talking about, well, next year, and you just don't know what is going to happen next week. You know, you have injuries and free agency and there is no question that the players on this team, not everybody is going to be back next year, you know, whether it is one or two guys or a number of guys. So it is really disappointing when you don't take advantage of the opportunity. But you know, we will keep fighting and try to give ourselves another opportunity next year. But it is disappointing because you know how much work you put into it, you really do. I mean we put a lot of time and work in. And last year was a disappointing finish and we really kind of swallowed, we really sort of kind of gut checked time and really bounced back and worked harder starting in March to try to be better this year. And I felt like we were. We really thought we were a better team this year and it just didn't finish like the way we wanted it to.

Q: When you run into a team like this and you continually fall short, do you ask yourself should we change, should we do things a little differently?

PM: I think sometimes that is what a team would like you to do where you sort of get out of your, the things that you do well and, you know, that is what they do. It is a boring answer. I wish I had something sort of creative to tell you, but it just comes down really to the execution on the field. And the times we have played them recently, they just out executed us. So it is a combination of us not doing our jobs, but I really give them the credit for outplaying us. Q: As the game went on, did it begin to go on your mind the history with them, that you guys had no success?

PM: The only time I started thinking about that is when I walk in this room, thinking about some of the questions that -- I thought of this, not a whole lot of variety of the questions this year than last year, unfortunately. You are hoping to have different questions, me talking about a win. But it is a lot of the same song as last year, unfortunately. And when you're out there playing I just go out there and play. You know, there is a lot of pressure. I mean it is when you see signs with your name on it and you talk about all week, it is, my name, and I don't like to use myself in the third person, but it is my name versus the Patriots. But I never played that way or felt that way. I knew it was Colts first versus the Patriots, but I wanted to do my job and I just didn't do it well enough.

Q: Can you respect a team that was missing so many parts on defense and yet played so well?

PM: You know, I said that really leading up to this game quite a bit. Most other times when you have starters down and you are missing some pro ballers, you really sort of lick your chops and you can really expose it. With New England, though, because they won without all these guys, they won without their starting corners, and it is just a credit for them and the other players and for their coaches, the guys that are in there, for stepping up and playing well. So it is kind of one of the few times that it seems like it doesn't really matter who is in there because the core guys that are there really elevate the rest of everybody's play.

Q: Peyton, after getting so many looks at them the last three years and seeing what they have done and going for their third Super Bowl, how impressive is this run in today's game?

PM: Like I said, I am running out of compliments to pay them. I give them a lot of credit. They are an excellent team. They play well when they need to play well. And you know, it will be two good teams playing next week in the championship game.

Q: Is the change you need next year, Peyton, just getting home field maybe?

PM: Well, I think you could say that. But that doesn't, you still have got to just play better in that game when you get the opportunity. I think that is really what it comes down to. And you know, we certainly haven't, haven't, you know, done the job when we played here. But you still, you know, wherever we play them, I know we have to come back here, I think, in the regular season next year so you have just got to play better than them on that particular day no matter where you play. I know that is a boring answer but that is really all I have got.

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