INDIANAPOLIS – Peyton Manning did his part, as he so often does.
Then, the guys on the Colts' defense couldn't do theirs.
The New York Jets drove down the field after getting the ball with less than a minute left and Nick Folk won it with a 32-yard field goal as time expired Saturday night for a 17-16 victory in an AFC playoff game.
It came after Manning led the Colts on a late drive and Adam Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining put Indianapolis ahead 16-14.
But, Antonio Cromartie returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards as Mark Sanchez got the Jets in position to win.
And, all Manning, a four-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion could do was watch.
"It's certainly disappointing tonight," he said. "That's really all you think about at this point. I think at some point, you will sit back and reflect on the entire season. But it's disappointing in the way that we lost the game tonight. Anytime you lose on a last-second field goal in a playoff game, it certainly stinks."
Manning completed 18 of 26 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown. He was much more effective in last year's AFC championship game, when he passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns in Indy's 30-17 win over the Jets.
But, Manning felt the offense was solid Saturday.
"I thought we had a good plan," he said. "I thought we played the plan, executed the plan pretty well. I guess we gave them a little too much time."
Manning had his moments. His best was when Pierre Garcon beat Cromartie down the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown that gave the Colts a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.
"It's funny, you know you're not going to stop them completely, but make one mistake, and then, boom, he burns you for a touchdown," said New York coach Rex Ryan, who made this matchup with Manning "personal." But Manning couldn't find Reggie Wayne, who was blanketed by New York's Darrelle Revis all night. Wayne caught 111 passes during the regular season, but had one catch for 1 yard against the Jets.
"Reggie Wayne has had an unbelievable year," Manning said. "There's no question he was a big focus of their defense. It was just a matter of throwing to the guy that was open on each progression, depending on what the coverage was."
Twice in the fourth quarter, the Colts weren't able to convert critical third downs.
Indy's Dominic Rhodes was stopped for 1 yard on a third-and-7 from the New York 15, and the Colts settled for a 32-yard field goal by Vinatieri with 4:41 remaining that cut New York's lead to 14-13.
On Indy's next possession, Manning threw a bit short to White on a third-and-6 from the New York 32, setting up Vinatieri's field goal in the final minute.
"We were certainly trying to pick up that first down at the end," Manning said. "We thought that would certainly make them use some of their timeouts. You'd love to be able to run the clock down as much as possible and kick it with no time left if possible."
Manning was pleased with Jacob Tamme and Blair White. Tamme, who stepped in for the injured Dallas Clark, caught five passes for 46 yards, including two key catches on the drive that set up Vinatieri's go-ahead field goal. White, an undrafted rookie who stepped in for the injured Austin Collie, caught six passes for 54 yards.
"I don't know how you can give them any more experience than they gained this year, playing in critical situations in critical games against some really good defenses," Manning said. "No question, those guys will be better players for it."
Manning was never comfortable, even after the Colts took the lead in the final minute.
"I don't think it's over until that last second goes off," he said. "Once I saw the kick return, it ended up putting our defense in a short field, a tough situation. It's a lot of pressure. It really goes from a lot of pressure on the offense to a lot of pressure on the defense."
And, unfortunately for Manning, Sanchez put even more pressure on the Colts.
"It's a great feeling coming back to Indy," Sanchez said, "and getting a win against a great quarterback, a great team and a really dominant franchise."