Five times in his roughly 21-minute news conference yesterday, Rex Ryan mentioned the name Peyton Manning. Given the Colts quarterback’s track record against Ryan, the Jets' head coach will surely be saying that name a few more times this week to his team -- with far more choice words than he used on Monday with the media.
There is a reason why the four-time NFL MVP is getting so much air time from Ryan’s mouth.
Last year, Manning was sensational in helping Indianapolis defeat the Jets 30-17 in the AFC championship. Manning went 26-for-39 for 377 yards and three touchdowns. In 2006, Manning wasn’t as flashy but efficient in orchestrating a 15-6 divisional round win over a Baltimore team where Ryan was defensive coordinator. Ryan, in fact, has never beaten Manning in the playoffs.
“Peyton Manning has beaten me twice in the playoffs. It’s well documented and you have all the stats,” Ryan said. “This is about this year and I’ve waited a full year for this."
It's no lie. In fact, the entirety of the Jets offseason pointed back to last year’s AFC championship. Ryan made multiple moves to his secondary, including trading for corner back Antonio Cromartie, spending a first round pick on Kyle Wilson to add to the team’s nickel package and signing Brodney Pool as a safety – all to corral an air attack like the Colts'. The Jets anticipated meeting the Colts again in the playoffs and wanted to have the personnel in place to frustrate Manning under center.
“With Peyton Manning, I’m going to beat him; I don’t know when, but I want it to be Saturday,” Ryan said. “Is it personal? Yes. Is it personal against him.”
Despite numerous injuries depleting the Colts this year, Manning still had a personal best of 4,700 passing yards and had the second highest touchdown tally of his career, finding pay dirt through the air 33 times.
Manning, though, is just 7-9 against all non-Rex teams in the postseason and has been one and done in the playoffs six times. In those games, a quarterback with 28 postseason touchdown passes has found the end zone just six times and been intercepted on four occasions. In two of those games, his completed pass percentage has been below 50 percent.
“It’s a big challenge. Everybody knows how Peyton Manning is and the things he can do with the ball,” cornerback Marquice Cole said. “So it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but we’re ready for it, hope to get some payback from last year.”