Though now isn't the best week for the Seahawks to learn this, Jim Mora loves Peyton Manning.

He has for more than 15 years, ever since Seattle's current coach was his dad's assistant with New Orleans and a then-teenage Peyton Manning joined the Saints for a minicamp in the spring of 1994.

Of course, Manning wasn't just a random teen who wandered off a school bus and onto a professional practice field. Mora's father, Jim, then the Saints' coach, is a friend of Archie Manning, Peyton's father and a former star quarterback for New Orleans.

The younger Mora said the younger Manning deserved to be on an NFL roster then, as a teen about to leave for the University of Tennessee.

Not only that, Mora said Manning was better then than cannon-armed Jim Everett, who was the Saints' starter.

"Jim was our quarterback. He had a great arm. I mean, he could fire it," Mora said. "Well, Peyton was a senior in high school, and he would come out _ this is before they had all the rules in place (about offseason workouts) _ and he would actually take seven-on-seven, throw one-on-one, and do that stuff with us.

"I kid you not, at age 17 or 18, even with Jim Everett and the talent he had, Peyton was the best quarterback on the field."

While in New Orleans, Mora used to go to Manning's games at Isidore Newman High.

"You know that cliche, 'He's like a man among boys?' It was just that way," Mora said. "I mean, he was just big. He was fast. He was smarter. He had a whip for an arm. He made great decisions. It was a joke watching him play against these guys.

"The funny thing is, he still looks that way today, even though he's playing against this elite competition."

Funny until Sunday, when the grown-up Mora and his Seahawks have to try to stop the grown-up Manning and his undefeated Colts in Indianapolis.

Manning, who is now 33, is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. He has three 300-yard performances, seven touchdowns and two interceptions through three games.

On Sunday, he will be facing a pass defense that has Marcus Trufant out with a back injury, fellow starting cornerback Josh Wilson trying to return in one week from a high ankle sprain and safety Jordan Babineaux nursing a bad shoulder.

This is Manning's 11th year with Indianapolis, the first four of which he played for the same, older Jim Mora who invited him into that Saints minicamp as a teenager. A light went off inside Manning's mind this week when he was asked about that first time he wowed people in the NFL.

"It was a great thrill to go in there and throw 1-on-1 or 7-on-7 in an NFL camp," Manning said.

"To get in there as a high school kid and be in an NFL huddle, talk about being uncomfortable. It was a good experience. ... You know, we played some tough competition at Newman, but we didn't have 250-pound linebackers or anything like that."

This Mora-Manning bond that started in that minicamp was reinforced at the close of Mora's rookie season as a head coach in 2004, after he took the Atlanta Falcons to the NFC championship game.

"I got to know coach Mora, Jimmy, down there (in New Orleans). He was a great guy then and he's always been nice to me," Manning said. "I got to spend some time with him in Hawaii when he was with the Falcons at the Pro Bowl, too. And he was great then, too."

Mora, meanwhile, seemingly could go on for days about Manning's excellence, leaving one to wonder how Seattle is going to avoid a third consecutive loss on Sunday.

"He's almost impossible to fool," said Mora, who was the defensive coordinator for San Francisco the last time he faced the Colts in Indianapolis in 2001. "He very rarely makes a poor decision. He manages the game like no one's ever managed a game before. He's tough. He's competitive. He's smart.

"I don't know if there's a flaw. I really don't."


AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this story.