Jets praise 'hot' Manning as surprise run falls short

By Larry Fine

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was credited by the New York Jets for Sunday's comeback victory that put Indianapolis into the Super Bowl and ended a surprising run for the wild card team.

"Today wasn't our day," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "You have Peyton Manning back there pulling the trigger.

"We tried everything. We tried man. We tried two-man. We tried zone. We tried you name it. You have to give him credit. He's one heck of a quarterback."

Manning completed 26 of 39 passes for 377 yards as the Indianapolis avenged a 29-15 loss to the Jets in the penultimate game of the regular season, when the Colts rested many starters.

"Hats off to the Colts," Sanchez told reporters. "We started fast. We had a great game plan coming into it."

The Jets' bid to reach the Super Bowl was hampered by injuries to running back Shonn Greene, who left the field with a rib problem, and quarterback Donald Strickland (groin).

"So that (injuries) left us in a hole a little bit and Peyton (quarterback Manning) was on. Peyton was Peyton," Sanchez said.

Defensive end Shaun Ellis, who played with a broken left hand, echoed the sentiments of his team mate Sanchez: "Peyton got hot. He was throwing some good passes into some tight coverage. They did what they had to do to win."

However, receiver Jerricho Cotchery tried to look on the positive side of a season that brought the Jets within one win of their first trip to the Super Bowl in 41 years.

"It was a heck of a year," he said. "We do have some things to look forward to.

"We have a great young quarterback, our offensive line is going to be together for a while, and there's a lot of young players on this team mixed in with some veterans that have a lot of years left in their tanks."

(Editing by Patrick Johnston)