View Full Version : Manning, Harrison breaking all the records

09-16-2005, 12:22 AM

Colts QB, WR set to pass Young-Rice, Kelly-Reed for all-time marks

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 15px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 25px" vAlign=bottom width="1%">http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/ap/ny16209151820.hmedium.jpg</TD><TD vAlign=bottom width="99%">Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and receiver Marvin Harrison are set to become the most prolific passing-catching combo in NFL history.

INDIANAPOLIS - Marvin Harrison thinks back to those first growing pains with Peyton Manning — the miscommunications, the errant passes, even the drops.

They’ve come a long way in eight seasons.

Harrison and Manning are now the authors of the NFL’s how-to manual on flawless play. They’ve worked overtime to sculpt that precision timing and uncanny ability to read each other’s minds, and now the record-setting duo is about to be rewarded with a new title — the league’s greatest quarterback-to-receiver tandem.

“We went through the bumps and bruises that first year or two,” Harrison said. “But we’ve developed a rapport where we can do things without speaking. Of the 83 touchdowns we’ve had, I can’t tell you how many we’ve come up with on the fly.”

The record-breaking game has become routine for Manning and Harrison.

In 2002, Harrison shattered the single-season mark for receptions by hauling in 143 passes. Last year, Manning threw an NFL record 49 touchdowns — 15 to Harrison — and the two combined to set a new mark for most completions by a tandem. They now have 708 completions, 45 more than the previous record set by Buffalo’s Jim Kelly and Andre Reed.

Two more league records could fall for the perennial Pro Bowl pair Sunday against Jacksonville.

The Colts combo needs 60 yards and three touchdown passes to become the all-time leaders in those categories, too. Kelly and Reed set the yardage mark (9,538), while San Francisco’s Steve Young and Jerry Rice hold the TD record (85).

Manning hasn’t forgotten how it all started.

“I remember that first touchdown pass in the preseason and that first one, in the opening game against Miami,” he said. “It’s a product of the work we’ve done, and we’re not going to stop now.”
To Harrison, it’s never been about numbers or pizazz, which explains his old-style celebration style.

But this touchdown mark is the rare exception because he would supplant Rice, a player he expressed deep admiration for when the two met at a game in Indianapolis last October. Rice retired earlier this month after a 20-year career.

“He said ‘I appreciate what you are — a great player and a class act,’ “ Harrison said. “I told him ‘You must be talking to a mirror’ because that’s what I think of him.”

There are several reasons Manning and Harrison have reached this level.

Receiver Brandon Stokley credits the marathon hours they’ve spent working on timing — and communication skills that require little more than a glance to change a play. Often times, the two are still the last off the practice field.

First-round draft pick Marlin Jackson, a cornerback, calls Harrison the best route-runner he’s ever faced. Other Colts defensive backs, who defend him in practice, rave about Harrison’s fluid hips and ability to make every route look the same.

Whatever the mojo is, opponents are envious.

“Saying they’re good would be an understatement,” Jacksonville safety Deon Grant said. “They’re great together. Peyton is an incredible quarterback. And Harrison, his numbers speak for themselves: A guy that old, getting paid that much money and still coming up with those numbers.”
Neither Harrison nor Manning are slowing down.

Harrison, 33, has topped 1,000 yards and scored at least 10 touchdowns in each of the last six seasons. Although his receptions have dropped from 143 in 2002 to 94 in 2003 and 86 last year, the Colts believe that’s more a result of Manning spreading out the ball to Reggie Wayne and Stokley more frequently.

Manning’s numbers have, amazingly, improved each of the last four years.

And the two could stay together for much longer. Manning, 29, has six years remaining on his $98 million contract, while Harrison signed a seven-year, $66 million deal in December.

Colts coach Tony Dungy, who played with Hall-of-Famers Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth in Pittsburgh, believes with that much time left together the records could be put out of reach.

“It will be tough for someone in this day and age to put up numbers like they’ve put up,” Dungy said. “They both want to be the best that’s ever played. That’s what you get from two guys who are smart, work hard and have played together for a long time.”

While many have watched the unbelievable catches and perfect passes between Manning and Harrison on Sunday afternoons, Harrison contends few have seen their greatest masterpieces.

Those usually come in practice, where Harrison and Manning rarely take off plays and nothing is out of reach.

“We do great things in practice, things you’ve never seen,” he said.

But the Colts tandem is following its usual script.

Records are nice; wins are essential.

“It’s a product of the work we’ve done,” Manning said. “The things he and I accomplish will be nice to reflect on when we retire. Hopefully, that’s a long way away.”

09-16-2005, 08:24 AM
A truly unbelievable combo.

One for the ages...

pizza guy
09-16-2005, 12:39 PM
Yeah, these two are unbelievable. I think what Dungy said is quite possibly true --that they're setting the bar TOO high. But, some one said that about Marino's TD record.

To watch those guys play though, certainly a treat and a privilege.