"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. We certainly have to improve from this game because we weren't as sharp execution-wise as we'd like to be."
Admittedly, this was no typical night for Manning.
The weekend's marquee matchup was the NFL's most anticipated homecoming since Brett Favre went back to Green Bay — with the dreaded Minnesota Vikings — in 2009.
Indy's former franchise quarterback dealt with questions all week about owner Jim Irsay's most recent comments expressing disappointment with winning just one Super Bowl title during the Manning years, then arrived to find out the roof and window at Lucas Oil Stadium would be open on a chilly night inside the house he helped build.
And when he first ran onto the field, some sections in the lower bowl looked like a checkerboard of Colts blue and Broncos orange. They roared for No. 18 throughout a 90-second video tribute featuring some of his most memorable moments with the Colts including the record-breaking pass to Marvin Harrison for most TDs by a quarterback-receiver duo, the AFC championship comeback against New England and, of course, the evening when he finally hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in rainy Miami.
Manning responded to the standing ovation by stopping his warm-up throws, taking off his helmet, waving to the fans and mouthing the words "Thank you."