Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman (above) found “a certain nobility” in Peyton Manning’s 6 INT performance versus the Bolts last Sunday evening, leading Cold Hard Football Facts to declare, “Dr. Z must be a proctologist. Because he massaged the stinking pile of feces that Manning dumped all over the field against San Diego and tilled it into the flowery rosebloom of the quarterback™s finest hour.”

Peyton Manning, when he has his full colony of workers, is the closest thing to a drillmaster you will see on a football field. The operation is meticulously organized. But start removing elements from it and the drill can break down. And take away as many key portions of it as were removed Sunday night and you get, well, six interceptions.

[Umm, so in other words, if Manning isn™t surrounded by his all-star teammates he sucks? Because six INTs isn™t just bad. It™s historic bad. Put it this way: only nine players in the entire history of the NFL have thrown more than six picks in a game.]

A lot of the greatest performances I’ve watched didn’t involve winning at all, and those yahoos who put some resonance into their voices and proclaim, “Without the victory, it doesn’t mean a thing,” don’t really understand that a certain nobility can also accompany hopeless causes.

[How was the cause “hopeless.” The Chargers are the biggest underachievers of the 2007 and their coach has proven he can’t win in the NFL. Manning’s Colts, meanwhile, are the DEFENDING F’IN SUPER BOWL champs with one of the best offenses and best defenses in football. And there might be “nobility” to the defeat if the player in question actually performed well.

[Manning, need we remind the eminent doctor, played one of the worst games of his career and tossed six picks “ a number so high that only nine players in the entire history of the NFL have thrown more in a single game. Would it have been so difficult for the Doctor to write, “Manning played like ass. But he’s still a great QB. He’ll rebound.” Really, would that have been so difficult? Instead, we get these complex and incomprehensible machinations attempting to excuse his awful effort by comparing his awful performance to games in the past with which it has absolutely no comparison. This column is so disjointed its starting to feel like that bad acid trip we had at the Dead show back in ’89.]