Don’t forget about the O-line

Center Jeff Saturday and the offensive line were key to the Colts reaching Super Bowl XLIV. (Ben Liebenberg /

MIAMI — Peyton Manning could have used a few of his offensive linemen while trying to get out of the club level of Sun Life Stadium, where Tuesday’s Media Day was moved in anticipation of rain. Manning, who easily gathered the largest crowd at his podium, was besieged by cameras and reporters while trying to make his exit.

Unlike on game day, when Indy’s offensive line allowed just 10 sacks on Manning all season, they were nowhere to be found once the Colts’ morning session was officially over.

The offensive linemen — center Jeff Saturday excluded — managed to keep a low profile throughout the hour-long media session.

“Everybody forgets about the O-line,” guard Ryan Lilja said.

Going off that, I asked Lilja and a couple of his offensive line teammates what they considered to be some of the more overlooked keys to Super Bowl XLIV.

“Move the ball, control the clock. Keep the other offense off the field. Every time they’re out there, we know they’re going to get seven points,” Lilja said. “You have to go into it thinking that. So you have to limit as many of their possessions as you can and win the turnover battle.

“It’s only been a week or so, but everyone forgets that we got 100 yards against New York.”

Lilja’s take is a good one, until you consider that the Colts were the 32nd-ranked rushing offense this season. Other than Donald Brown, who said the Colts were going to run the ball 40 times against the Saints, Lilja’s point isn’t one that most people are buying.

“We hear that a lot,” guard Kyle DeVan said. “But when we need to run the ball, we’ve run the ball. Peyton is the best in the NFL, so we pass the ball a lot. Which is OK.

“We’re going to do what we do best, which is protect the quarterback and control the line of scrimmage. If that allows us to run the ball a little more, then we’re going to do that. If we have to pass, we know we have the best man to do it.”

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