The Colts Broncos game on Sunday night was Peyton Manning's first return to Indianapolis since leaving two years ago, and the opportunity to thank the record-breaking quarterback wasn't lost on his former team.
The Colts had a pre-game tribute for Manning that showed highlights from his long career with the team, and ended by showing Manning standing at a podium hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy after leading his team to a win in Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4, 2007.
As the tribute faded out, the words "Thank You, Peyton" flashed on the screen and the crowd rose to pay tribute to Manning.
It was also an emotional moment for Peyton Manning, who is normally stoic and focused in his pregame routine. He took off his helmet and waved to the crowd, saying "Thank you" as he acknowledged them.
But the tribute ended, and there was still a game to be played --- and a good one, at that. The Broncos came in undefeated, their offense nearly unstoppable as Peyton and his talented corps of receivers shredded defenses.
The Colts came in at 4-2, led by Peyton's successor Andrew Luck, and have an explosive offense of their own.
Not surprisingly, the Colts Broncos game came down to offense. The Colts were able to capitalize off miscues from the Broncos and held off a late Peyton Manning rally to win the game, 39-33.
"This is a game we need to learn from. We, I guess, had four turnovers and still somehow had a chance to win that game," Manning said. "I would have liked to have seen it go to a two-point game down there toward the end and see what would have happened, but it never quite got to that point. You can go back to different parts of the game and we got behind, mistakes there, but we still had a chance there at the end."
The Colts Broncos game could be a preview of things to come, as both teams appear destined for the playoffs.