For a man who takes up more than 15 percent of his team’s salary cap, Peyton Manning’s performance on Sunday is unacceptable.

Peyton Manning seemed just as worried about the refs as he was with the Packers' defense on Sunday.

Peyton Manning seemed just as worried about the refs as he was with the Packers on Sunday.

In the Packers 34-14 thumping of the Colts, Manning was flat out bad. The Packers rattled him early, leaving him worried more about penalty flags than putting together drives.

His two interceptions returned for touchdowns turned what should’ve been a competitive game into a rout. He completed just 50 percent of his passes and finished with one of the worst single-game passer ratings of his career.

There’s plenty of blame to spread around, but it’s time for the money man to earn his keep.

Sure he was rusty out of the gate after missing training camp and the preseason with what turned out to be two knee surgeries. Yes, the offensive line has been decimated with injuries and the running game is nonexistent.

But for a team lucky to be 3-3, its leader has been mediocre at best.

Two miracle comebacks against the Vikings and Texans masked otherwise average performances by No. 18, but on Sunday, his effort stood out.

Nobody can question Manning’s work ethic or his competitive fire, but that’s not enough.

And he isn’t alone.

It’s no secret the Colts invest in their offense. Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Ryan Diem alone combine to make up more than a third of the team’s salary in 2008.

So far it’s not paying off. The Colts’ offense ranks 19th in the NFL – easily on pace for its worst finish since Manning joined the team (the offense ranked 12th his rookie season).

Before his hamstring injury, Joseph Addai was a non-factor; Harrison has been average; and the offensive line can’t get it together.

The Colts have seen some decent defenses, but nothing like the three-game stretch that lies ahead. Next up they’ll go against a Titans’ unit that is ranked No. 3 and allows a league-low 11 points per game. Two weeks later they’ll travel to Pittsburgh and face the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL.

In a team sport, it’s hard to point fingers at individuals, but I’m guessing Manning would tell you himself – he has to do better. If he doesn’t, the 2008 season – one in which nine wins will probably get you in the playoffs in the AFC – is going to bomb out in a hurry and the Colts will be watching the playoffs from their couches come January for the first time since 2002.

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