The Tennessee Titans couldn't stop Peyton Manning(notes) on Thursday night, allowing the formerly struggling quarterback to throw for 325 yards and two touchdowns. So ineffective were the Titans against the Colts offense that the most effective defensive play against Manning came not from a Titan, but from one of Manning's own Indianapolis Colts teammates.
Midway through the third quarter, with the Titans threatening the Colts for the first time after having cut the lead to seven, Manning led his team downfield with ease. On third-and-goal, the All-Pro QB dropped back and found his favorite target, Reggie Wayne(notes), in the back of the end zone, wide open. No Titans were around to deflect the pass. It was to be a back-breaking touchdown for the team. And then Colts rookie receiver Blair White(notes) stepped in:
As you can see in this clip, Wayne stares down White after the play and motions that the rookie was supposed to go left on the route, leaving Wayne with the clear space at the back of the end zone. White evidently ran a different route, and when he saw a ball coming his way, he reached out for it even though it was far over his head. (Granted, with the way Manning had been throwing over the last three weeks, maybe that wasn't the worst assumption.)
The Colts would end up kicking a field goal and winning the game, so White's play didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. He heard an earful from Manning on the sideline after the play and then sat alone on the bench for the next defensive possession. But after the victory, Manning was laid-back in reaction to the play. He laughed when asked about it and refused to talk bad about White, instead choosing to reitirate to the NFL Network postgame booth that this was all part of White's learning process.
Something tells me Peyton would have been a little more upset had the Titans come back to win by three points.
- Blair White