Ryan obsesses over Colts' Manning
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan has had it with those Peyton Manning roadblocks.
Manning, the Colts' Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback, has knocked Ryan out of the playoffs twice, including a 30-17 loss in last year's AFC Championship Game in Indianapolis. Ryan waited nearly a year for his next crack at sweet revenge, which he made extremely clear Monday as he huffed and puffed about Manning.
He's obsessed with sending Manning home, along with teammates Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, when the Jets (11-5) meet the Colts (10-6) in an AFC wild-card game at 8 p.m. Saturday in Indianapolis.
"With Peyton Manning, I want to beat him," Ryan said at the Jets' training complex. "I don't know when I'm going to beat him, but I want it to be Saturday. Is it personal? Yes. Is it personal against him, Reggie Wayne, Freeney, Mathis and all those other dudes? Absolutely. I want to win and that's why I'm here. That's why I say they are going to get my best shot and our team's best shot and we'll see if they are good enough to handle us."
Manning hasn't had one of his trademark MVP-type seasons — throwing 17 interceptions, although he did have 33 touchdowns and 4,700 passing yards — partly because the Colts' receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. Manning's security blanket, tight end Dallas Clark (wrist), and wide receiver Austin Collie (concussion) are on season-ending injured reserve.
But he's still dangerous in the postseason, and no one knows that better than Ryan. When he was Baltimore's defensive coordinator in 2006, Manning's Colts escaped with a 15-6 victory. Then there's that eye-popping performance against the Jets in last year's AFC title game, when Manning completed 26 of 39 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns — including two to help erase a 17-13 halftime deficit.
"You can't mention Indianapolis without saying, 'Peyton Manning and Indianapolis,'"' Ryan said. "I know he's there. I've seen him many years at the Pro Bowl. You know what's funny? I respect the heck out of this guy, but it's like, 'I'm going to beat him one day' and I just hope it's this Saturday."
That would go a long way to close the wounds Manning reopened a year ago when he halted the Jets' unexpected postseason run.
"It was a sick feeling," right guard Brandon Moore said. "It was an emotional locker room after the game. You couldn't have told us we weren't going to win that game. But I think every game is going to be personal as you go along here.
"We definitely want to get revenge on them and make up for last year."
After all that brash Super Bowl talk, which began in training camp and has been reiterated by Ryan of late, they'd better. Otherwise, Ryan could end up having to scrape egg off his face.
"This season, when we talked about the goals and everything else, it was about getting to this point, and we're here," Ryan said. "I can't express how excited I am about this opportunity because there's a lot of good football teams at home that don't get this chance.
"Do I recognize we are playing an excellent football team and one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game? Of course I recognize that. But we are not going there to lose. We are going there to win and that's our mentality. It's my mentality, always will be and that's it."
Comments by former Colts coach turned NBC analyst Tony Dungy, essentially saying the Jets' defense relies on trickery that won't affect Manning, certainly won't change that.
"Hey, I've been doubted all my life," Ryan said. "So that's fine."