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Becoming the Best

Peyton Manning, Third-Year Pro


Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts drops back to pass against the Minnesota Vikings at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis late in the 2000 season.

Elsa / Getty Images
By 2000, Peyton Manning's third season in the league, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback had established himself as one of, if not the best passer in the league. If there were any remaining doubters, though, they were silenced early in the season when Manning hung 440 yards and four touchdowns on the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 43-14 beat down.

Manning threw for more than 280 yards nine times on the season, and the Colts offense became one of the league's most explosive. And in a week eight contest with the New England Patriots, he outdid himself by posting a perfect passer rating of 158.3 for the first time in his career. His 16-for-20, three-touchdown performance was enough to give the Colts a 30-23 win.

On the last week of the regular season, the All Pro quarterback matched his earlier four-touchdown performance in a 31-10 route of the Minnesota Vikings.

Indianapolis finished second in the AFC East to the Miami Dolphins, but managed to secure a wild-card playoff berth. Manning's post-season ended in disappointment again, however, when those same Dolphins came away with an overtime victory in the first round. Manning's performance made the loss even more sour as he posted his third-lowest completion percentage of the season and tossed just one touchdown pass.

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