QB Peyton Manning - Free Agent
|6-5, 230||Born: 3-24-1976||College: Tennessee||Drafted: Round 1, pick 1 (1998)|
2015 Week 1 vs BAL (24 / 40 / 175 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Preseason struggles have historically been very common for Peyton Manning offenses, so when Denver's players discussed how their offense would come together, they merited the benefit of the doubt. After an anemic first game, the benefit must be wearing thin. Manning was able to generate power on his throws, but he did it with labored body mechanics that threw off his accuracy and left him consistently overthrowing his intended target on passes of more than 10 yards. Additionally, Manning showed little functional mobility, frequently giving up and going to the turf at the first sign of pressure and struggling to set his feet in time after the rollouts that are such a signature of new coach Gary Kubiak's offense. One such throw was a softball over the middle that hung up in the air until it was tipped by a defensive back, intercepted, and returned for a touchdown.
2015 Week 2 vs KC (26 / 45 / 256 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning looked better mechanically to begin the game against Kansas City, but early results were a continuation of last week's poor showing against Baltimore. Manning finally threw a beautiful deep pass, only to have it knocked out of his receiver's hands. Against a blitz, Manning threw to Demaryius Thomas on a hot route, but Thomas was slow looking back for the football, the throw was off-target and behind him, and the result for the second consecutive week was an interception returned for a touchdown. Shortly afterwards, Denver switched to a more shotgun-heavy offense to help get Manning comfortable. It paid immediate dividends in the form of dramatically reduced pressure, but Manning was still spotty with his delivery. He comically overthrew an easy dump-off and was almost intercepted, and had a few other near-picks that were dropped by the defense. He had flashes of quality play, leading the announcers to praise him at one point for throwing three consecutive accurate passes-- something that would have been taken as a given from a younger Peyton Manning. Despite the uneven performance, Manning came alive when it mattered most, throwing several do-or-die intermediate passes in traffic to move Denver down the field for the game tying score. For two minutes, he managed to roll back the clock. Questions of whether this was a fleeting reminder of what was or a herald of things yet to come would-- perhaps mercifully-- be left for another day, as Denver's suffocating defense scored the winning points before Peyton could again be asked to place the team's fate on his aging shoulders.
2015 Week 3 vs DET (31 / 42 / 324 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning was hardly in vintage form, but after two poor outings to start the year, his "pretty decent" showing against the Detroit Lions was a welcome sight. His mechanics still seem labored as he is forced to use his entire body to generate power on his deep throws, and the result is spotty accuracy beyond fifteen yards. While he had previously been consistently overthrowing his targets, against Detroit he had a few notable underthrows where the ball hung up in the air a little bit. Despite the ugliness of Manning's performance, it was still his most consistently effective outing of the season. Manning's one interception came on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage, and for the most part he made fewer risky or questionable decisions. He also seemed to be a bit more aggressive attacking the intermediate-to-deep areas, including a crucial touchdown on 4th-and-1 to end the first half; Demaryius Thomas ran a deep "go" route, Manning heaved the ball up for grabs, and Thomas was able to outmuscle the much smaller defender for the underthrown pass, avoid the tackle, and walk into the end zone for a touchdown.
2015 Week 4 vs MIN (17 / 27 / 213 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
At this point, Peyton Manning's struggles have been well documented. Four games into the 2015 season, he shows little sign of regaining the dominant, unstoppable form he showed as recently as midseason of last year. Instead, he seems determined to leverage his experience to drag a few more passable performances out of his failing body. Against the Vikings, Peyton spent much of the day alternating between throws that it looked like he wouldn't be able to make, but did, and throws it looked like he would be able to make, but didn't. Included in that total was his first interception, an ill-advised throw he tried to rifle past linebacker Anthony Barr, but which he hasn't had the arm strength to make in years. Manning continues to face pressure at a shocking rate, given his history, as his patchwork line is clearly overmatched and he's no longer able to cover for it like he once could. Still, as he has in recent weeks, Manning managed to get into a flow in the latter half, negate much of the pass rush, and move the ball. It hasn't been as much as we've typically seen from him, but paired with Denver's dominant defense this year, it has been enough.
2015 Week 5 vs OAK (22 / 35 / 266 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Another week, another reminder that Peyton Manning's exceptional career is drawing to a close. Unable to get away with the risky passes he once has and unable to throw deep without a seeming herculean effort, Manning is forced to anticipate his receivers even more, leading to plenty of errant throws. On his first interception of the day, tight end Owen Daniels was jammed at the line and Manning didn't read it in time, throwing the ball directly into the waiting arms of a Raiders defensive back, (with two others in the vicinity). On his second interception, he launched a ball deep at the limits of his arm and it hung in the air too long, giving the defense plenty of time to play it. While his 266 yards look like a respectable total, Manning and the Broncos find their offense coming in fits and starts, and most tellingly have been unable to sustain anything upon reaching the red zone. Denver's kicker finished the afternoon with a pair of field goals under 25 yards, including a 20-yarder at the end of a "drive" that started in the red zone after a turnover.
2015 Week 6 vs CLE (26 / 48 / 290 / 1 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning who had thrown more interceptions than touchdowns through five games, only widened that margin with three picks vs. one lone touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns. While one of the interceptions was only marginally his fault, as a pass slightly behind Ronnie Hillman went right through his back's hands and into the arms of a waiting linebacker, Manning made a few truly questionable decisions. On his first interception, for instance, Manning threw to a well-covered receiver and didn't even see the linebacker lurking underneath in coverage. Manning made another terrible decision, flipping a short pass right in front of a waiting linebacker on 3rd-and-20 in the shadow of his own goal line, though thankfully for his team he escaped that one without yet another pick 6. For all the bad, (and there was plenty), Manning did have a few terrific throws, including a deep shot to Emmanuel Sanders 20 yards downfield that hit him in stride, allowing Sanders to accelerate away and run 75 yards for Denver's lone offensive touchdown of the game. Manning also threw a few beautiful balls to Demaryius Thomas late in the game, one of them a strike fifteen yards downfield with nothing but green grass in the picture, only to have Thomas drop what would have been a huge gain. Overall, Manning made a few more nice throws than he had through five weeks, but not nearly as many as his offense will need going forward.
2015 Week 8 vs GB (21 / 29 / 340 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Taking good advantage of the bye week, Denver entered the game against Green Bay with a plan for how to fix the offense in the short term and the long term. In the short term, Peyton Manning victimized the Packers with a series of intermediate crossing routes for 10+ yard gain after 10+ yard gain, taking a break from the steady stream of jabs to launch an occasional haymaker down the field. In the long term, Manning and head coach Gary Kubiak seem to have reached some sort of consensus on how best to tailor scheme to Manning's current skillset. While the offense still called for a few rollouts, they were done more selectively and left Manning in more of a position to succeed. While Manning's deep accuracy is still spotty, (and several of those effective crossers were thrown a touch too high, forcing the receiver to leave his feet to haul them in), the quarterback and the play caller did a good job at diagnosing weaknesses pre-snap and leaving Manning in a position where he didn't need a perfect throw to win the matchup. While Manning was once again held without a touchdown, his apparent comfort in the offense should be viewed as a huge positive sign for his production going forward.
2015 Week 9 vs IND (21 / 36 / 281 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
A week after showing signs he might be turning the corner, Peyton Manning played closer to his typical 2015 form against the Indianapolis Colts, making risky throws, floating footballs, and generally lacking the surgical precision that he's been so famous for throughout his career. On his first interception, he badly overthrew a crossing pattern, floating the ball into the midst of three defenders with no Broncos in sight. On his second, he forced a risky throw to Demaryius Thomas on an out route, trusting his receiver to make a play, only for Thomas to stumble and get beaten to the ball. While his lows were very low, Peyton also displayed some positive traits in tough situations. Of the 13 third downs Manning faced, nine were of 8 yards or longer as Denver's running game struggled to find purchase and Manning was routinely asked to bail the offense out. Manning converted on four of his nine third-and-very-long attempts, (and three of his four third-and-manageable attempts), keeping drives alive by himself. Included in that total was a deep 64-yard bomb to Emmanuel Sanders to convert 3rd-and-14 and get Denver back into the game. While he may not be the dominant force he once was, Peyton Manning is still a credible quarterback and an asset to his offense.
2015 Week 10 vs KC (5 / 20 / 35 / 0 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Many words will be written about the irony of Peyton Manning being benched against the Kansas City Chiefs on the same day that he set the NFL's all-time career passing yardage record. Some comparisons will be made between Manning's season so far and the final season of the man who previously held the record; Favre's 10 touchdowns against 16 interceptions in his first nine games of 2010 are quite similar to Manning's 9 touchdowns against 17 interceptions in his first nine games of 2015. Historical significance aside, Peyton Manning turned in what was easily the worst game of what has easily been the worst season of his 17-year career. 5 completions on 20 attempts for 35 yards paints a grim enough picture without acknowledging the four interceptions, (and handful of other passes that easily could have been picked. His errors ranged from mechanical, (two underthrown passes downfield that landed nowhere near his intended target), to the mental, (failing to recognize a Chiefs' defender in his passing lane), to, admittedly, bad luck, (a receiver fell down in the middle of his cut after being "helped" by a a nearby defender). Is this the death knell for Manning's record-setting, award-winning career? Reports out of Denver suggest that Manning was far more hurt than he was letting on, and that he was playing through a torn plantar fascia. Coach Gary Kubiak has already announced Manning will be inactive next week to heal. Perhaps, with history on the line, Manning rushed into the lineup before he was truly ready. Perhaps.
2015 Week 17 vs SD (5 / 9 / 69 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Active for the first time since his disastrous game against Kansas City in week 10, Peyton Manning figured to rest his ailing foot in advance of the playoffs. Instead, an early deficit against the San Diego Chargers with home field advantage pressed Manning into service. While everyone is naturally curious how healthy Manning really is, he unfortunately wasn't asked to do enough to get a great read. On some plays, his mechanics looked a bit awkward, notably kicking his foot up after a short pass over the middle. On the other hand, while his deep passes still fluttered and hung up, Manning made terrific reads, throwing the ball cautiously wide of any defenders and finding receivers who were wide open. With a bye secured, Peyton Manning will have another two weeks to heal his ailing foot while coach Gary Kubiak decides who will get the start for Denver in the playoffs.
2015 Week 20 vs NE (17 / 32 / 176 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 11 / 0 rush)
Manning looked better than he has in a long time during the first half of Sunday's win over the New England Patriots. He still won't be dropping any 50-yard bombs of course, but he was accurate, decisive and sharp - more than he has been in some time. His receivers did a good job of finding the seams in the defense as well, such as on the first of tight end Owen Daniels' two touchdown receptions. On the play, Daniels slipped behind the middle linebacker, and as soon as he did so, Manning threw the ball. Daniels was wide open, with the linebackers trailing him and the safety out of position. He caught the ball just short of the goal line and easily scored. Manning did have a very early blunder which cost his team as he threw a screen pass which was ruled a backwards pass. That's considered a live ball and the Patriots recovered, shortly later scoring a touchdown. Had Ronnie Hillman played the whistle (which was blown after the Patriots had recovered, or caught the ball (it was a bit wide, but within his ability to catch), then the ball would have remained with the Broncos. Manning also was bailed out of a few underthrown balls by Emmanuel Sanders, who has emerged as the go-to guy in the passing offense. Manning's second touchdown was a nice fade to Daniels and showed some good touch in dropping it right where Daniels was going to be on the route. The second half was more difficult for Manning and the passing offense, both of which were far more erratic. As the Patriots were able to create more pressure, Manning had to rush his reads and delivery, which in turn caused more passes to go awry. Manning was lucky that New England was unable to generate turnovers, and you have to feel that after two games of this, he is due to get picked off any time now.
2014 Week 1 vs IND (22 / 36 / 269 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
Against his former team, Peyton Manning did a lot of little things right for the Denver Broncos. He used his pre-snap recognition to anticipate and frustrate the Colts' pass rush. Despite facing pressure at times and even unblocked rushers on multiple occasions, Manning was sacked just one time, and even recognized an overload blitz well enough to scramble for an 11-yard gain on 3rd-and-10, (though the play was called back due to penalty). As he often does, Peyton also used a quick-snap to catch the defense in an illegal substitution. While not playing perfectly, Peyton had the offense humming early, with 24 points in their first four drives. His deep accuracy was a little bit off all game, though it didn't cost his offense until the second half when a few ill-timed drops and broken up passes left Denver behind schedule on offense. In all, Peyton had a solid day against a defense that was active and aggressive, especially in the front seven, and did more than enough to help Denver walk away with an opening-game win.
2014 Week 2 vs KC (21 / 26 / 242 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning's statistics for the first and second halves tell the story of a passer who was on fire early and cooled off late. Manning entered halftime having completed 15 of 19 attempts for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the second half, he completed just 5 of 6 for 51 yards and no touchdowns. In truth, the entire discrepancy between the two halves is explained by Kansas City's offense- engineering several long drives in the second half, Kansas City gave Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos just two possessions after halftime, compared to the five possessions they had in the first half. Instead, Manning's day was consistently efficient, taking smart risks with the football. After successfully challenging the Chiefs' defense deep on the first play of the game, Manning spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between intermediate throws and short dump-offs designed to let his talented receivers get yards after the catch. Manning showed a willingness to take chances with the ball in tight coverage, but consistently threw the ball away from the defenders when doing so and did not give them an opportunity to make a play on it. His worst play of the day was a risky overthrow at the line of scrimmage to Julius Thomas on 3rd-and-3 that was unlikely to convert anyway, as there were two defenders between him and the first down. Manning's touchdown to Jacob Tamme came off of a well-executed offensive pick play and a blown coverage assignment by Kansas City's defense. Manning's two other touchdowns fit perfectly within the day's theme of smart throws into tight coverage, as both were well-executed fade passes to the left side of the field.
2014 Week 3 vs SEA (31 / 49 / 303 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Against a swarming Seahawks defense, Peyton Manning opened with a very conservative game plan involving lots of runs and screens. On Denver's second drive, Manning even audibled to a draw play to backup tight end Virgil Green on 3rd and 9. Unfortunately for Manning, fantastic penetration by the defensive line and unbelievable closing speed by the back seven shut down that plan; Denver averaged 1.9 yards on nineteen carries and gained just two yards on six screen plays, leaving Manning and the offense behind schedule on 2nd and 3rd down. Manning's woes were compounded by a series of drops and half-hearted plays by his receivers on 3rd down that stalled out promising drives, and at one point Denver was forced to punt on eight consecutive possessions. That same swarming defense was constantly in Manning's face in the backfield, hitting him 8 times and hurrying him 10, though Manning managed to get the ball out early and was only sacked once. At times, Manning struggled to get velocity on his throws, resulting in several of passes that hung up in the air and a pair that could have possibly been intercepted. He also made a terrible decision to try to float a pass over the Safety that did result in a turnover. Despite all of the flaws on display, Manning showed phenomenal movement in the pocket and anticipation, guiding an offense with very few bright spots to 20 points against a phenomenal defense. On his final drive of the day, Peyton Manning was in Hall of Fame form, leading the Broncos 80 yards in under a minute, then throwing a perfectly-placed pass to Demaryius Thomas with Richard Sherman in tight coverage for the game-tying two-point conversion.
2014 Week 5 vs ARI (31 / 47 / 479 / 4 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Entering the game against Arizona, Peyton Manning was one shy of 500 touchdown passes for his career. Peyton got touchdown #500, and added touchdown #501, #502, and #503 while also throwing for a career-best 479 yards for good measure. With the running game getting nothing against a tough Arizona defense, Peyton carried the offense on his back for most of the game, hitting his receivers in stride with several beautiful deep passes after struggling a bit earlier in the season. Peyton Manning also threw a pair of interceptions. On the first, he misread an intermediate throw, didn't lead Wes Welker by enough, and saw the defender undercut the ball for an easy pick. On the second interception, Peyton attempted to toss a routine screen behind an onrushing Calais Campbell, but the Cardinals' star diagnosed the play perfectly and made a fantastic individual effort to come up with the ball. Even with the miscues, Peyton had a dominant game that could have been even better still; a 77-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas was called back due to an illegal block. Even without that long touchdown, Manning and the offense punched the ball into the end zone several times against a tough defense, and after an injury to Campbell the offense broke the game open with 17 points on their final three drives of the game.
2014 Week 6 vs NYJ (22 / 33 / 237 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Despite yet another 3-touchdown game inching him ever closer to Brett Favre's career record, Peyton Manning had a rather forgettable afternoon against the New York Jets. His offensive line struggled mightily against a strong New York pass rush, and Manning endured a rare two-sack day. Both times, the lineman was beaten so quickly that Peyton Manning got to the end of his drop and was forced to immediately drop to the turf and accept the loss. On several other occasions, such as his 1-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, Manning had to scramble around in a messy pocket and make a play. Far from blameless himself, Manning's passes fluttered and hung up in the air more than usual, though they still often arrived at their destination. After beating the Jets deep on the first play of the game for a 54-yard gain, Manning called a more cautious game featuring few deep passes. Perhaps it seems odd to suggest that Manning had a day that featured 3 touchdowns and a passer rating over 100 qualified as mediocre, but Manning has certainly had crisper and more efficient outings during his Denver tenure.
2014 Week 7 vs SF (22 / 26 / 318 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
With his 509th and 510th career scores, Peyton Manning became the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns. On a night devoted to his career excellence, however, Peyton Manning reminded everyone about his current brilliance, playing by far the best game of his season and one of the best of his entire career. Facing a depleted LB corps, 19 of Manning's 28 passes came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage as he consistently and methodically picked apart a San Francisco defense that had been having a great season. In addition to his preternatural touch and decision-making, Manning's deep ball was devastating against San Francisco, earning 99 yards and two touchdowns on just four passes 20 yards downfield, including a beautiful 40-yard touchdown to Demaryius Thomas that put the 49ers away for good. When the dust had settled, Peyton Manning had thrown as many touchdowns as incompletions (four apiece), with two of those incompletions being drops by the receiver. Peyton Manning made it abundantly clear to all watching that, while he may now own the record, he was not yet done adding to it.
2014 Week 8 vs SD (25 / 35 / 286 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning continued his precision dissection of opposing defenses against the injured Chargers. San Diego entered the game against Denver with Brandon Flowers, one of its starting cornerbacks, out with a concussion. Jason Verrett, San Diego's second cornerback, entered nursing a shoulder injury that was exacerbated early. Facing a team missing its top two pass defenders, Peyton Manning went to work, finishing 17/21 for 225 yards and 3 TDs to his outside receivers. Manning was mostly able to move Denver down the field at will with a series of short and intermediate passes, only testing his deep arm once on a beautiful 31-yard touchdown pass that was lofted just over the top of the coverage. After a slow start to the game, Manning led the team to touchdowns on each of its first three drives after halftime to put the game out of reach, and then ran out the clock on San Diego's comeback hopes. His lone blemish on the day was an interception in the end zone where he just misjudged All-Pro safety Eric Weddle's range. He attempted to throw a pass over the top of Weddle to Wes Welker in the back of the end zone, but Weddle quickly identified and made a fantastic leaping grab. Fortunately for Denver, the interception was called back on a questionable defensive holding penalty away from the play. Manning was also briefly perturbed late in the game as Denver was trying to gain a few first downs to ice the game, when fans in the stands were cheering loudly. Showing off his legendary attention to detail, he offered a few words of advice after the game to Denver's scoreboard operator about the proper and improper times to rile up the crowd.
2014 Week 9 vs NE (34 / 57 / 438 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
While pre-game concern centered around the inclement weather, Peyton Manning's stellar season was instead derailed by an active New England defense. Manning threw an interception after failing to account for a linebacker in coverage, and would have had a second interception in the first half had Wes Welker not made a terrific play to knock down a badly-thrown ball. Unfortunately, Welker would later offset that great play by tipping a well-thrown pass to a waiting Patriot defender for Manning's second interception of the day. Beyond the turnovers, an ineffective running game often led to long-yardage situations and stalled drives. The first five third downs Manning and the Broncos faced were 3rd-and-12, 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-20, and 3rd-and-10. Manning managed to convert one on a defensive pass interference penalty, but typically had too little time to throw as the Broncos were forced to punt the ball away. Manning and the Broncos were eventually able to move the ball, and outside of the first quarter the wind and cold seemed to be a non-factor as Manning was confidently throwing deep down the sidelines or across the middle of the field, but a slow start largely meant a day spent playing catch-up and padding statistics once the game was already out of hand.
2014 Week 10 vs OAK (31 / 44 / 340 / 5 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Against the rival Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning and the Broncos got off to a terrible offensive start. On his second pass attempt, Manning overthrew Emmanuel Sanders over the middle of the field, resulting in an interception. On Denver's second drive, the offense stalled out after reaching first-and-goal from the four and failing to score on three straight pass plays. On Denver's third drive, Manning and the Broncos again reached the red zone before stalling out and settling for a field goal. On his very next attempt, Manning threw a screen that was tipped and intercepted by defensive end Justin Tuck. It was one of several Manning passes that was tipped at the line of scrimmage through the first half, as Oakland's defensive line did a great job at denying him throwing lanes. After his second interception, Manning and the Broncos offense was forced to punt twice more as Oakland claimed a 10-6 lead. Fortunately for the Broncos, a turnover and a big return gave Manning stellar starting field position on his next two drives, and the entire offense came to life. Peyton Manning threw touchdown passes on each of Denver's next five drives as the Broncos turned a tight 4-point deficit into a massive 31-point lead in just 17 minutes of game time. Manning's first touchdown pass was the result of a tremendous individual effort by running back C.J. Anderson on a screen pass, but his second was a beautiful deep lob to Emmanuel Sanders over the top of a defender just before halftime. Manning threw two short passes that tight end Julius Thomas was able to run into the end zone, and finished with another nice throw between two defenders to Emmanuel Sanders for his fifth passing touchdown of the day. In all, despite a very slow start, Peyton dissected yet another overmatched defense.
2014 Week 11 vs STL (34 / 54 / 389 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
With 389 passing yards and 7.2 yards per attempt, Peyton Manning's raw statistics certainly did not look bad against the St. Louis Rams. He threw two interceptions, but both were on great defensive plays when Denver was in desperation mode during the fourth quarter. Still, despite his decent-seeming statistics, Manning played a very poor game against St. Louis, as he was unable to string together any of his intermittent success into sustained production. After having just two passes batted at the line of scrimmage in the first eight games combined, Manning had four passes batted for the second consecutive week. St. Louis' pass rush wasn't dominant, but they were active enough to clearly disrupt Manning's rhythm. Manning's deep accuracy was once again poor, with several balls sailing on him. Manning spent much of the game looking as if he was on the verge of breaking out, but outside of a ruthlessly efficient touchdown drive in the second quarter that saw Manning march 80 yards in just five passes, the promised hot streak never materialized.
2014 Week 12 vs MIA (28 / 35 / 257 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Coming off of a tough loss to the St. Louis Rams, Peyton Manning and the Broncos were tasked with bouncing back against one of the league's toughest pass defenses in the Miami Dolphins. Fortunately, the offense was up to the task, and an offensive line that has played poorly all season long came together at exactly the right time, allowing just one pressure all game. With extra time to work, Manning was able to pick apart a top-notch Miami secondary, posting his sixth game of the season with 3 or more touchdowns and no interceptions. In addition to his production, Manning came a few feet away from completing a trio of low-percentage deep bombs to Emmanuel Sanders, with two of them traveling 45+ yards through the air. While his deep accuracy was just a hair off, Manning's arm strength has survived just fine to this point of the season.
2014 Week 13 vs KC (17 / 34 / 179 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / -6 / 0 rush)
In the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton Manning managed to shine despite a clearly run-oriented game plan. With Denver running on every 1st and 2nd down, (and most of the 3rd-and-shorts, as well), Manning only threw the ball on 3rd and long. Unfortunately for Kansas City, he managed to convert a devastating number of those passes. Manning earned a new set of downs on 7 of his first 8 attempts on 3rd down, with most of those attempts coming with 5+ yards to go. Included in those seven completions was a 23-yard fade to Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown, a 5-yard dump-off to C.J. Anderson that he ran in for a 14-yard score, and a 15-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders on 3rd-and-5 while Manning was flushed out of the pocket and chased by Tamba Hali. The lone miss during that stretch wasn't Manning's fault, as Demaryius misread a perfectly thrown pass and failed to secure what would have been an easy touchdown. After that scorching hot start, the winds seemed to pick up at Arrowhead, and Manning's second-half play became as cold as his first-half play was hot. Manning followed his 7-of-8 streak by missing each of his next 5 third-down attempts, many of which got hung up and wound up nowhere near the intended receiver. Manning seemed bothered both by the elements and by an effective Kansas City pass rush. Fortunately for Denver, his early performance had been strong enough to stake the Broncos to an insurmountable lead.
2014 Week 14 vs BUF (14 / 20 / 173 / 0 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
For the first time since November 14th, 2010, Peyton Manning started a game and failed to register a touchdown pass against the Buffalo Bills. In part, this was the result of a running game that was deadly in the red zone and a game script that saw Denver race to a 3-score lead by early in the 3rd quarter; Manning's 20 pass attempts were the lowest of his Denver career by a substantial margin, and the 2nd-lowest total for any game he started and finished in his 16-year career. While the lack of attempts partly explained the results, a large part of it fell on Manning's own shoulders. He only threw six incomplete passes all game, and one of those was a throw-away to avoid a sack, but the remaining five all missed badly; two were intercepted and a third was dropped by a defender. Even Manning's completions were often off-target, and multiple times he threw a pass that hung up in the air and left Emmanuel Sanders defenseless against a charging defender. With the weather a pleasant 63 degrees and no real wind to speak of, Manning's poor accuracy was puzzling. Still, Manning made enough plays between bad throws to come away with a comfortable win, and did manage to avoid going down a single time against the league's leading pass rush.
2014 Week 15 vs SD (14 / 20 / 233 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
For the second consecutive week, Peyton Manning complete 14 of his 20 pass attempts. Despite that superficial similarity, the performances could not have been more different; a week after throwing two interceptions (and two more passes that could have been picked), Manning was much more careful with the football, finishing with his second-highest yards per attempt total of the season and avoiding turnovers. Manning's day was hardly a walk in the park, however, as his pass protection was lacking and Manning played through what were described as "flu-like symptoms". Manning had to receive IV fluids several times from Saturday night through Sunday morning, and after injuring his thigh on a rare blocking attempt at the goal line, Manning went to the locker room early before halftime to get evaluated and receive more IV fluids. Despite this, Manning was efficient and effective against the Chargers, throwing a beautiful back-shoulder touchdown to Demaryius Thomas, and nearly throwing another on a play where it looked like Demaryius gave up on his route early.
2014 Week 16 vs CIN (28 / 44 / 311 / 2 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
A week after playing through the flu, Manning again came out sluggish as the Cincinnati Bengals raced to an early lead. In the first half, Manning's passes were either dump-offs or off-target, and Denver again tried to run their offense through C.J. Anderson. The short gains and misfires led to Denver gaining just two first downs on their first four drives, and Manning added an interception on a play where the safety gave a phenomenal effort to rip the ball out of the hands of the intended receiver as the catch was being made. After one of Manning's rare deep completions was negated by an offensive hold and Denver's next drive ended in a missed field goal, the Broncos offense was shut out during the first half. In the third quarter, a light rain started and, instead of slowing Manning down further, it seemed to bring him to life. During the third quarter, Denver scored touchdowns on all three of their offensive possessions, largely on the back of a long kick return and a pair of deep completions that all set Denver up deep in Cincinnati's territory. Alas, the outburst was short lived as Cincinnati's secondary put the clamps back down and Manning returned to his pattern of dumpoffs and inaccurate deep passes in the fourth quarter. Manning tacked on three interceptions in the fourth. The first came when he anticipated a blitz by a CB and didn't see him drop back into coverage. The second came on either a terrible miscommunication or an awful throw, as the pass was a short pass outside the numbers that wound up nowhere near its intended receiver. The final interception came with the game already largely decided, as Manning forced another pass outside the numbers down by two scores with under two minutes remaining, hoping for a miracle. Manning's miserable fourth quarter was made even worse by repeated breakdowns by his offensive tackles leading to constant pressure from the outside.
2014 Week 17 vs OAK (21 / 37 / 273 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / -5 / 0 rush)
Coming into the game against Oakland on a bit of a cold streak, Peyton Manning had a slump-busting performance, even without throwing for any touchdowns. Against an overmatched opponent, Manning and the Broncos scored points of 7 of their 11 offensive drives before giving way to the second-string offense, (which added a touchdown of its own). While his throws often lacked velocity, Manning made up for it with anticipation and decision-making, completing a trio of deep balls and drawing a pass interference penalty and generally moving Denver into the red zone with ease. Manning did have a fumble returned for a touchdown on a WR screen that was tipped and ruled a backwards lateral, but otherwise overcame some at-times shaky line play with consistently good decisions.
2014 Week 19 vs IND (26 / 46 / 211 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning's end-of-year struggles culminated in one of the worst games of his entire career in a season-ending loss to his former franchise, the Indianapolis Colts. Denver's game started well, with a touchdown on their opening drive, (partially aided by a roughing the passer call on 3rd-and-5). On the drive, Manning completed a 32 yard deep pass down the left sideline to Julius Thomas to get Denver down to the goal line. Unfortunately, it would be Manning's only deep completion of the entire game, as his next seven attempts fell incomplete, including a stunning six overthrown balls. Manning's footwork was sloppy, and he was clearly trying too hard to force the ball downfield. His next few deep passes just barely missed, but as the game went on, his attempts went further and further astray. Manning also attempted to pick on the Colts' star cornerback, Vontae Davis, throwing 11 passes to five different players with Davis in coverage, (including a particularly ill-advised throw to fourth-string receiver Andre Caldwell). Those 11 passes yielded just 21 yards and a near-interception. Manning's stubborn focus on Davis and deep passes showed an unwillingness to deviate from a gameplan that clearly wasn't working, and were it not for a few pointless completions in garbage time, Manning would have been rewarded with his worst rate stats in a game since his rookie year. The day after the game, stories began to surface that Manning had suffered a severe quad tear in week 15 against the San Diego Chargers, which might help explain his especially poor performance in the biggest game of the season for Denver.
2013 Week 1 vs BAL (27 / 42 / 462 / 7 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning produced a stat line for the ages, but the truly scary thing for defensive coordinators has to be that he could have been even better. After a thirty-minute lightning delay, Denver's offense got off to a slow start against Baltimore as Manning's rhythm with his outside receivers was just a little bit off. Early rain prompted Manning to wear a glove for much of the first half, and while he looked efficient and effective with it, the fireworks really started once the weather dried enough for Manning to take it back off again. Manning threw five touchdowns after halftime, the last of which was a simple screen to Demaryius Thomas which was blocked well and which Thomas took 78 yards to the end zone. Most importantly, Manning was pushing the tempo all game, with each of Denver's seven scoring drives taking less than 2:30 off the clock.
2013 Week 2 vs NYG (30 / 43 / 307 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
While he didn't finish with seven touchdowns again, Peyton Manning was his usual, efficient self, avoiding mistakes and consistently moving Denver's offense into scoring position. Manning's offensive line stepped up their play from the opening week, where they struggled against the pass-rushing duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, and managed to keep Manning upright the entire day, allowing no sacks, one hit, and just five hurries on 43 pass attempts. Unfortunately for Peyton, as his line was stepping up, his receivers were letting him down, as each of his top three receivers finished the day with dropped passes. The fact that Manning has been so effective even while pieces of his offense have had off days highlights just how good his numbers could be if every part of Denver's offense had a good day on the same week.
2013 Week 3 vs OAK (32 / 37 / 374 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning is a four-time league MVP, and last year he came close to adding a fifth trophy to his case, so saying that Peyton Manning is off to the best start of his career is no small claim. Manning currently leads the league in every single quarterback statistic except for attempts (6th), yards per completion (9th), and sack percentage (3rd). Peyton Manning's 3 touchdown passes in week 3 bring his season total to 12, an NFL record to start the season. Manning has yet to throw an interception. As a whole, Denver has scored the second most points through 3 games in NFL history behind only the 1968 Dallas Cowboys. Against Oakland, Peyton Manning threw just five incompletions, and four of those passes hit his receivers in the hands. Even more impressive than his passing is how Manning sets his teammates up to succeed, at several points making changes to the play at the line of scrimmage and personally lining up his teammates properly to take advantage of what he sees in the defense. After losing All Pro left tackle Ryan Clady for the season, Peyton Manning responded by running a quick passing offense to keep the pressure off of backup tackle Chris Clark; Manning threw the ball, on average, in 2.12 seconds, the lowest total in the league this week. With all of the big things and the little things adding up, Peyton Manning is well on his way to having the best season any quarterback has had in the history of the league.
2013 Week 4 vs PHI (28 / 34 / 327 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning continued his march towards his fifth MVP award with a clinical dissection of the Philadelphia Eagles. Manning's dominance, as always, extends well beyond the box score. For instance, Manning was able to earn a first down three times simply by drawing the Eagles offsides on the hard count. After the third offsides, microphones picked up Manning laughing on the field and saying "there you go". With only seven incompletions vs. 4 TDs, Manning continues to make everything look effortless. In the seven drives for Denver where Peyton Manning was on the field, the Broncos scored 5 touchdowns, gained 62 yards on a sixth drive before being forced to punt, and had a three-and-out... but the three and out came following a 2nd down play where Eric Decker was wide open with nothing between him and an 80-yard touchdown, only to have the ball fall off his fingertips. It was one of just a handful of deep attempts for Manning, who continues to move the ball and score points almost entirely through the short and intermediate game. Peyton Manning is in the kind of zone right now where he can practically just name a score before kickoff.
2013 Week 5 vs DAL (33 / 42 / 414 / 4 / 1 pass, 4 / -8 / 1 rush)
Manning continued his assault on the record books against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Manning's four passing touchdowns give him 20 so far, which isn't just a record through 5 games, it's only one touchdown shy of tying the record through 6 games. Manning's NFL record of touchdowns without an interception came to an end at the close of the third quarter, as Peyton committed his first turnover of the season on a badly underthrown pass that Eric Decker seemed to lose in the sun. Despite the rare miscue, Denver's 51 points were the second most in franchise history, behind only the 52 points Manning and the Broncos scored against Philadelphia last week. While Peyton's arm strength is probably among the bottom third of the league's starters at this point, and while he doesn't throw the prettiest spiral, Manning is picking apart the league simply by being miles ahead of everyone else mentally. No play typified this better than when Manning ran a naked bootleg at the goal line to score his first rushing touchdown since the 2008 season. To make the play action more believable, Manning didn't tell any of his teammates he planned on running the ball. The play was such a surprise that the cameraman remained focused on the scrum in the middle of the field for several seconds before realizing Manning had the football by the sideline and was walking across the goal line for a score. Questioned about the play after the game, Manning simply said "If you do it every five years, it's a good tendency-breaker". Peyton Manning is busy setting up offensive plays five years in advance. It's small wonder the rest of the league can't keep up.
2013 Week 6 vs JAX (28 / 42 / 295 / 2 / 1 pass, 5 / -7 / 0 rush)
For the first time in a long time, Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense looked out of sorts at times against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville's game plan coming in was clearly to get some bodies on Peyton Manning early, and Denver gave up an uncharacteristic 5 QB hits on just the first two drives before the offensive line settled down and started protecting better. Center Manny Ramirez had played so well this season that it's been easy to forget that he'd never played center before this year, but he reminded everyone with a series of bad snaps in this game, two of which were fumbled by Peyton Manning. While the offense typically recovers over 75% of faulty exchanges, Jacksonville managed to come away with both balls, one of them ending a drive that was already inside the 5 yard line. Manning made several errors of his own, too, including an ugly interception over the middle that was underthrown and hung in the air waiting for the defense to make a play. In addition to the turnovers, Denver also punted as many times against Jacksonville (3) as they did in their previous three games combined, and Denver lined up to punt a fourth time but called a successful fake, instead. Still, Peyton Manning finished the day with two touchdowns and very easily could have had more, as Denver opted to go run-heavy in goal-to-go situations, finishing with more touchdowns rushing than passing. On one sequence, Julius Thomas had a touchdown reception that was bobbled and incomplete, then followed that up by drawing a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the next play, only to see Knowshon Moreno come on the field and run it in from the one. Lest anyone believe that Peyton Manning is concerned with his own stats or chasing records, several of those goal-to-go runs were audibles called by Manning at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw from the defense. On the whole, it's a testament to Manning's play this season when it must be explained why he "only" had 295 and 2 touchdowns passing.
2013 Week 7 vs IND (29 / 49 / 386 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Obviously his return to Indianapolis was not just another game for Peyton Manning. Whether due to understandable emotion or not, though, Peyton Manning had perhaps his worst game of the season, and one of the worst games of his short career with the Broncos. Indianapolis was able to achieve the most critical goal for stopping Peyton Manning; they were able to consistently bring pressure with a four man pass rush. After yielding just five sacks in the first six games, Peyton Manning went down four times against a Colts defense that largely refrained from blitzing, as Denver's patchwork offensive line finally began to show some cracks. Of Denver's five projected starters on the line entering the season, only two were active against the Colts, and only one was playing in his natural position. Left tackle Chris Clark, starting since Ryan Clady was lost for the season, was badly beaten by Robert Mathis to allow a fumble and safety. Louis Vasquez struggled at times against edge rushers in his first career start at right tackle after having started his previous 60 games at right guard. Reserve guard Chris Kuper, pressed into action after Vasquez was shifted outside to replace tackle Orlando Franklin, was pushed around by stronger and more aggressive defensive linemen all night. By the middle of the second quarter, it was clear that Indianapolis' pressure was getting to Manning, who stood head and shoulders above the field in terms of accuracy and ball placement through six weeks, but who repeatedly over-threw or under-threw receivers against the Colts. Denver's game plan also did not help Manning overcome his struggles. Coming into the game, Peyton Manning had thrown deep (15+ yards down the field) on just 16.7% of his pass attempts, an average of 7 such attempts per game and a lower percentage than all but three regular starters (Tony Romo, Alex Smith, and Matt Ryan). Against Indianapolis, Denver clearly had a different game plan, and 19 of Manning's 49 attempts were 15+ yards downfield. Manning's 38.8% deep passing rate was the second highest rate in the league this week, behind Geno Smith. Perhaps it was a result of the game plan, or perhaps Denver's earlier focus on short passes had only served to hide the issue, but Peyton Manning's deep passes lacked both accuracy and zip. While Manning has never thrown a particularly pretty ball, a lot of his deep passes were hanging up and dying on him, limiting yards after the catch as receivers were forced to adjust to the ball and giving defenders chances to recover and make a play after they'd been beaten. The bright side for Peyton Manning is that, with the game becoming desperate in the fourth quarter, he finally broke out some vintage play, covering 80 yards with a pair of deep completions for one late touchdown, then working the Broncos down to the goal line with a series of intermediate daggers to Wes Welker before his RB fumbled away a chance at another touchdown.
2013 Week 8 vs WAS (30 / 44 / 354 / 4 / 3 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
The Denver press managed to break a couple of bombshells about Peyton Manning prior to his game against Washington. Early in the week, a Peyton Manning profile mentioned that, as a result of his neck surgeries, Manning's right arm still is not as strong as his left. Later in the week, Peyton Manning sat out his first complete practice in years, and the Denver Post reported it was because he had sprained both ankles two weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the myriad ailments he faced, pre-game reports said that Manning was looking healthier than he had a week ago, and his play on the field backed those reports up. Peyton Manning largely continued his record-setting pace, although his stat line this week was marred by three interceptions. Rather than terrible decisions or horrible throws, Manning's INTs were mostly the result of simply trusting his receivers too much to make a play. On his first interception, Peyton threw with anticipation, but Demaryius Thomas fell down coming out of his break, leading to an easy pick six for DeAngelo Hall. On his second, Wes Welker faced high-low coverage in the middle of the field, and Manning overestimated his ability to fit the ball in a tight window. Instead, the low defender tipped the pass, and the high defender was able to field it for another takeaway. On Manning's final interception, he threw the ball to Demaryius in one-on-one coverage with DeAngelo Hall, and Hall simply managed to out-muscle the much larger Thomas for the football. Peyton Manning attempted fewer deep passes than he did a week ago, and he still had a couple attempts flutter on him, but a week after a string of under-thrown balls raised questions about his health and his arm strength, most of Manning's misses were of the over-thrown variety. Much of Manning's yardage came from phenomenally-executed screen passes, and his offensive line did a wonderful job buying him time in the pocket. Add in that he was facing a defense lacking both of its starting safeties, and Manning had a pretty forgettable day, outside of providing positive answers to some of the questions that had swirled around him in recent weeks.
2013 Week 10 vs SD (25 / 36 / 330 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Coming out of the bye week, Manning remained razor sharp in the short-to-intermediate passing game, with two thirds of his total yardage coming after the catch, including 100 yards on a pair of TD passes to Julius and Demaryius Thomas. Manning remains a master of diagnosing a defense and checking into the right play, and Denver's entire offense has been masterful all season long at executing screen passes. Those tendencies can make Peyton Manning's life easy, as they get the ball out of his hand quickly, easing the burden on a suddenly struggling offensive line. Nowhere was the efficiency of Denver's short passing game on better display than on the final drive of the first half. Beginning on his own 26 yard line with 98 seconds remaining, Denver called nine consecutive passing plays. Manning completed passes for 12 yards and 7 yards, threw incomplete once, then had completions of 6, 2, 3, 8, and 28 (on his lone deep attempt of the drive) before tossing a 7-yard touchdown to end the drive. While his overall game was again extremely strong, there remained areas of concern. Peyton Manning's deep passing game is still hit-and-miss, although he is no longer consistently underthrowing receivers. Manning tied his single-season high in fumbles after yet another blindside sack, giving him seven for the season (as many as in his last three seasons combined). Most troubling, Peyton Manning received a couple of low hits late in the game, and the second one clearly left him hurt. He stayed down on the turf grimacing in pain for several long moments before getting up and walking it off. He felt good enough to stay in the game as Denver secured one final game-sealing first down (and felt good enough to gripe at the refs about having to use one of Denver's timeouts because of his injury). Manning went in for an MRI on Monday, and the early returns suggest that while he aggravated his previous high ankle sprain, he should be able to play through it in week 11.
2013 Week 11 vs KC (24 / 40 / 323 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
For another week, Denver demonstrated that Peyton Manning at 80% is still quite a lot better than most other quarterbacks at 100%. With his injured ankles heavily taped and clearly still affecting his movement, Peyton delivered a gutsy effort against a fierce Kansas City defense. As expected, Denver attempted to slow the Chiefs' pass rush with a heavy dose of screens, 3-step drops, and run plays. Their efforts were wildly successful, as Peyton Manning was neither sacked nor hit all game, although the pass rush was always in the back of his mind, as several times he was skittish about stepping into a clean pocket or he rushed a play in which he still had plenty of time out of concern that the Chiefs' defenders might be closing on him. While Manning wasn't flawless, he managed the game well and kept Denver ahead of schedule for most of the evening. The biggest error on the night was a fumbled handoff with rookie Montee Ball, which Manning took responsibility for after the game, saying "I was just trying to hurry to get the ball in Montee's hands. They were kind of blitzing, and I rushed the handoff and didn't give him a good handoff at all." With that one miscue aside, Manning took excellent care of the ball, largely avoided risky plays, and made Kansas City pay on one of his few gambles, as he threw a deep pass to Demaryius Thomas on 3rd and 5 that was perfectly placed, hitting his receiver in stride and letting him run for 70 yards. Manning followed that up two plays later with his only touchdown of the night, a quick strike over the middle to Julius Thomas in front of the Chiefs' safety.
2013 Week 12 vs NE (19 / 36 / 150 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
With temperatures in New England scheduled to be well below freezing, much attention was paid to Peyton Manning's career performance in cold games. ESPN provided a graphic saying Peyton Manning was actually the highest rated quarterback in the league in games that were below freezing at kickoff, but that provided cold comfort against New England as Manning had what was by far his worst performance of the season. In addition to the frigid temperatures, the winds in Foxborough were up to 20 miles per hour by late in the game, and the vast majority of Manning's attempts downfield either died in the air or sailed well past their intended target. Seemingly no one could hold on to the frozen football in a game where both teams combined for 11 fumbles, and Manning's woes were exacerbated by key drops from all three of his primary receivers. Poor play by his blockers up front was also a problem, as Peyton Manning frequently had to do his work in a muddy pocket. His lone sack of the day came just 2.7 seconds after the snap, as his linemen let several defenders through nearly immediately. It seemed like Denver's game plan from the beginning was to limit Manning's workload, as Denver called a pass on a mere 10 of their 39 first down plays, including just 2 of their first 22. The running game was largely effective, managing to get a few first downs every drive, but eventually it would stall out and leave Manning trying to convert on 3rd down. A third of Manning's passes came on 3rd down plays with 4 to 8 yards to go. Manning converted on just 5 of the 12 attempts, with all 5 conversions coming at the hands of Jacob Tamme (4 receptions and one drawn pass interference penalty). In addition, Manning's interception came on a poor decision on one of his few 1st down throws. All told, whether it was the weather or New England's fantastic man-to-man coverage, Peyton rarely looked like his usual self outside of Denver's penultimate drive of regulation, where he fit several balls into incredibly tight windows to march the Broncos down the field for the overtime-forcing touchdown.
2013 Week 13 vs KC (22 / 35 / 403 / 5 / 2 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning's game against the Chiefs started very slowly. He was intercepted on the first drive on a pass intended for Demaryius Thomas, who was injured and unable to do anything more than tip it to the defense. He was intercepted again on the 3rd drive on a ball that was badly under thrown. He spent the entire first quarter and the first part of the second struggling badly with his accuracy, with nearly every pass winding up overthrown or under thrown, with the exception of a beautiful 41-yard strike to Eric Decker. By the middle of the second quarter, with Kansas City leading 21-7, Peyton found his rhythm and the Chiefs didn't stand a chance. By the end of the afternoon, Peyton had tossed five touchdowns on drives that spanned a remarkable 75, 70, 80, 92, and 95 yards. Manning had a field day picking on rookie CB Marcus Cooper again, abusing him repeatedly down the field on passes to Eric Decker, and also connecting with Demaryius Thomas for a 77-yard gain in his coverage. In a rare week where Denver decided to feature the deep pass, Peyton Manning for much of the game could do no wrong, and the barrage of deep completions led to Manning posting by far the highest yard-per-completion average (18.3) of his Denver career, topping his 17.1 ypc mark in the season opener against the Ravens. His day wasn't just deep bombs, though, as Manning set up a pair of perfect screen passes that both netted 30+ yards in 2nd-and-very-long situations, and also tossed a pair of touchdowns from a compressed field inside Kansas City's 5 yard line. Even including his early struggles, Peyton Manning played what was easily his best game since the first quarter of the season, and he did it on two bad ankles with Demaryius Thomas injured, Julius Thomas inactive, and Knowshon Moreno struggling. Peyton Manning and Denver's offense both remain on pace to set a bevy of new league records in the 2013 season.
2013 Week 14 vs TEN (39 / 59 / 397 / 4 / 0 pass, 3 / -1 / 0 rush)
If last week against the Chiefs was not Peyton Manning's best game of the season, then Sunday against the Titans certainly was. After hearing for weeks that he couldn't play in cold weather, Peyton Manning and offensive coordinator crafted a game plan designed to show everyone how wrong they were. Manning had 38 pass attempts in the first half, which was more than he had in five entire games so far this year, and he finished with a new career-best 59 attempts. Those 59 attempts produced 20 incompletions, but 7 of them were dropped passes, one was a spike, and one was an intentional throw-away. Manning only threw one pass all game that had a chance of being intercepted, and otherwise worked his way up and down the field at will. Discounting kneel-downs at the end of the game, Manning led Denver's offense to scores on 9 of their 11 drives (6 touchdowns, 3 field goals). Denver scored 51 points for the third time this season after never scoring more than 50 in the team's 52-year history prior to 2013. Denver's 39 offensive first downs was another team record, and the second-highest total in NFL history. Peyton Manning didn't throw deep as often as he did against Kansas City, but he picked his spots and was very successful when he did, completing passes of 24+ yards to each of his three wide receivers, and throwing another great deep pass to a wide-open Montee Ball that the rookie dropped on 3rd-and-3. The Tennessee Titans entered Sunday's action having given up 8 passing touchdowns all season long. By the time Peyton Manning had continued his march into the record books, they had given up 12.
2013 Week 15 vs SD (27 / 41 / 289 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Against the woeful San Diego Chargers' defense, Peyton Manning and the Denver offense had by far their worst game of the season. What is telling, however, how their worst game of the season was still a fairly solid game. Even including a desperation drive at the end of the first half with 80 yards to go and 30 seconds to play, Denver averaged 2.2 points and 32.8 yards per offensive drive, totals that would rank among the top 10 over a full season. Denver's offensive statistics were partially depressed by a successful ball-control offense in San Diego that slowed the pace of the game. Denver's 54 offensive snaps were by far their fewest of the season, a full 20 snaps fewer than any game other than their first meeting with the Chargers. Perhaps the Chargers just have their number, as Denver's two games against San Diego have resulted in the two lowest yardage totals of the year. Still, given the quality of the defense he was facing, Peyton Manning's day could not be considered anything but a major disappointment. Peyton threw a few wounded ducks during the game, but by and large, his accuracy was just fine. Peyton's biggest achilles heel was his inability to diagnose and dissect San Diego's defense, especially on 3rd downs. Manning converted a 3rd and 5 on his team's first drive of the day en route to a touchdown. His next 3rd down attempt drew a defensive holding penalty. After that, Denver put the ball in Manning's hands for its next six 3rd downs, and Manning failed to convert each time. Peyton Manning did not convert another 3rd down until under 3 minutes remained in the game and Denver was in desperation mode. Manning's woes largely stemmed from a pair of receivers either missing or playing out of position and an offensive line that suddenly struggled to protect him. His interception came on a play where his backup left tackle got beat inside and a defender hit Manning as he was throwing. At the end of the day, though, Peyton failed to step up and play like he has all season long when the Broncos needed him the most.
2013 Week 16 vs HOU (32 / 51 / 400 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Any look at Peyton Manning's day wouldn't be complete without first acknowledging it in the context of his entire season, as Manning's four touchdowns gave him 51 for the year, setting a new NFL record in the process. For the day, Peyton Manning was sharp, and continued his success in recent weeks when taking shots deep down the field. His first touchdown of the day came on a 30+ yard throw down the seam as Demaryius Thomas split two defenders. Manning's last touchdown of the day came on a 25-yard fade pass placed perfectly on the outside shoulder after Julius Thomas found himself in 1-on-1 coverage outside with a linebacker. In between, Manning threw a pair of strikes to Eric Decker. Manning's woes on 3rd down carried over from the San Diego game, and Denver once again stalled out with three consecutive 3-and-outs on offense, but outside of those brief struggles to begin the 3rd quarter, Peyton was crisp enough on 1st and 2nd down to keep the ball moving all day long, as he threw for 296 yards in the first half and Denver rolled up 511 total yards on the day.
2013 Week 17 vs OAK (25 / 28 / 266 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning wrapped up his surreal, record-setting season in typical Peyton Manning fashion against the Oakland Raiders; Manning was ruthlessly efficient, accomplished what needed to be accomplished early, and then shut down for the rest of the day. In a first-half onslaught, Peyton Manning more touchdown passes (four) than incomplete passes (three)... and one of those incompletions came on a play where Eric Decker, the intended receiver, had his face mask pulled and his head turned around as the ball arrived. Manning did most of his work with his preternatural pre-snap recognition and his precision short passing, with 149 of his 266 passing yards coming after the catch, but just in case anyone worried about his arm strength heading into the playoffs, Manning also uncorked a 63-yard touchdown to a streaking Demaryius Thomas that traveled over 30 yards through the air. Manning led Denver to four touchdowns and a field goal in five drives in the first half, then sat out after halftime with Denver holding a 31-0 lead.
2013 Week 19 vs SD (25 / 36 / 230 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
His statistics might look pedestrian compared to his usual production, but Peyton Manning's playoff game against the San Diego Chargers was one of his best games of the season. Because of the game's slow pace and a successful onside kick by the Chargers, Manning and the Broncos were limited to 8 offensive drives. While Peyton's stat line will show an interception, the play came on an end-zone pass that hit Eric Decker in the hands and was deflected to the Chargers. Peyton also had a pass to Julius Thomas ruled a fumble, costing him another drive. In addition, not shown in Peyton Manning's numbers are the 5 drops by his receivers, or the five times he baited the Chargers into a neutral zone infraction with his hard count. Peyton Manning was accurate enough on his deep and intermediate throws, but continues to excel most on short targets to move the chains. Peyton Manning completed passes for a first down on 6 of his 9 third down attempts, with the three exceptions being two passes that hit his intended receiver in the hands and were dropped, and a third pass that sailed high after the defense was flagged for pass interference. In addition, Peyton Manning was masterful at avoiding pressure, and even more masterful when pressure did get to him; on plays where he was under duress, Manning completed all three of his attempts for 40 yards and a touchdown, including a 19-yard conversion on 3rd-and-17 that might have been the most important play of the game.
2013 Week 20 vs NE (32 / 43 / 400 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
On an unseasonably warm winter afternoon with little breeze, Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos rolled up 507 yards against New England, the most allowed by the Patriots in any game under coach Bill Belichick. As has been the case for most of the season, Manning only attempted a few deep passes to keep the defense honest, doing the majority of his damage on surgical passes close to the line of scrimmage, including getting both of his touchdown passes on shallow crossing patterns over the middle. The final point total might not seem impressive, but it underrates Peyton's offensive excellence, as the Broncos finished the game with scores on 6 of their 8 offensive drives, with the exceptions being a punt on the first drive of the game and a kneel down on the last drive of the game. Denver averaged over 60 yards per drive for the day, and the only blemish on an otherwise spotless offensive performance was a tendency to settle for field goals upon reaching the red zone, although Peyton Manning did have a perfectly-thrown touchdown pass dropped by Julius Thomas from the 1 yard line.
2013 Week 21 vs SEA (34 / 49 / 280 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
On Denver's first play from scrimmage, Peyton Manning approached the line to change the play call, and his center mistakenly snapped the ball early and over his head, resulting in a 14-yard loss for a safety. Everything went downhill from there, as Seattle was able to take away his receivers deep while still swarming to the ball to prevent yards after the catch on short routes. After being pressured 12 times in his last two games combined, Peyton Manning was pressured 15 times against Seattle, posting a passer rating of 99 when he had a clean pocket and just 33 with defenders around him, including an interception that was tipped at the line, a pick-6 when he was hit as he threw, and a blindside strip by an on-rushing defender. Even those figures understate the impact of Seattle's pass rush, as many of the clean pockets Manning saw came late in the contest with the outcome already decided and the Seahawks defense backing off. Seattle managed to get the pressure without blitzing, as every Broncos lineman struggled in pass protection. Peyton was able to string together stretches of success, and even set a Super Bowl record for completions, but invariably it always ended with a major breakdown somewhere along the line and a drive-ending mistake. In their last game of the year, Denver's record-setting offense came to a screeching halt, as their receivers couldn't get open, their line couldn't protect, and their quarterback couldn't overcome any issues to make something happen.
2012 Week 1 vs PIT (19 / 26 / 253 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
After a solid-but-unspectacular start, Denver employed the no-huddle offense and really found a groove. Manning was calling his own plays, reading the defense, and running whatever the defense was giving him. He threw some wobbly balls, but they were always accurate and made it to the intended target far more often than not. Manning's mental ability was never in question, and he certainly showed why. His physical ability, however, was what everyone wanted to evaluate. Never confused with a cannon-armed guy like Matthew Stafford, Manning appeared as if he hadn't lost too much of his fastball. He made both of his top wideouts viable options as they both received seven targets and had five receptions. Manning was able to make throws to both sides of the field, but it seemed as if his more challenging outside throws were to his left. If there was a weakness in his game, he didn't give the Pittsburgh defense time to find and exploit it.
2012 Week 2 vs ATL (24 / 37 / 241 / 1 / 3 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
ut the fairytale on ice fellas, at least for the moment anyway. Manning's first quarter was one to remember, except for the wrong reasons. Manning threw three interceptions in the first quarter of a game for the first time in over a decade(Tom Brady in 2001). Each interception was eerily similar as they were all deep passes slightly to the right of the middle of the field. He also didn't see defenders on each throw. His first interception went to William Moore as he dropped into the middle third of three deep coverage. Moore beat Jacob Tamme to the football as Moore was in better position to attack the ball while Tamme was falling away from it. Manning was rattled after that interception as he messed up his footwork with his center on the next play, turned the wrong way on a handoff to his back after that before throwing another interception. This time Thomas DeCoud undercut a severely under thrown pass to Brandon Stokley who was streaking down the middle of the field. Manning's third interception came when he was trying to hit Stokley on the same route, but overthrew him. Manning may have never seen Robert McClain, who drifted in from the sideline to catch the ball with ease, as he tried to throw the ball over another defender into Stokley's arms. Despite having a clean pocket on each of his interceptions, Manning failed to recognize the defense alignment and made bad decisions trying to throw passes into windows that never existed. A fourth interception should have come late in the first half when he threw the ball directly to Dunta Robinson in the endzone. Fortunately for him, Stokley made a good play on the ball to break it up. Manning rebounded from that with a perfect pass(perfect in the sense of accurate, but the ball itself was wobbling horribly) to the corner of the endzone to Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown. Manning did rebound well after the first quarter, but he didn't take another shot downfield until there were eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, when he missed Brandon Stokley on a post route. For all the negatives in the game, Manning led a valiant comeback effort by completing short passes to his receivers and checking to the running game when the Falcons gave him favorable looks. Mentally, Manning is still 100 percent, but physically he still has a way to go.
2012 Week 3 vs HOU (26 / 52 / 330 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Statistically Manning's numbers looked awfully vintage Peyton. However, for three quarters the Bronco passing offense really struggled to get much going. It has been beaten to death already, but many of the question marks about Manning's arm strength were relevant again early. Early throws which required any zip often came out wobbly and took forever to find their target, assuming they even made it that far. On the Broncos' 2nd drive, Manning and Jacob Tamme connected on a 3rd and five for 14 yards, but it really took some extra torque (has to affect mechanics slightly) for Manning to get it into the fairly tight window and the ball couldn't have been uglier as it wobbled through the air (makes for a tougher catch). The following drive, on a play action fake, Manning had Eric Decker running free on a deep post, but the ball was slightly underthrown. Decker was forced to slow to make the catch resulting in a 35-yard pass. 35-yard completions are great, except that it could have been a TD had there been more on the throw allowing Decker to run under it instead of having to slow down. Manning continued to try and work the back shoulder throw to both Decker and Demaryus Thomas, but each was significantly underthrown. Decker finally made a great one-handed catch on one, however, as he lost his footing, but was able to bring the 26-yard catch in with one hand. Houston dared Manning to beat them on deep throws all game, often bringing pressure and matching up in man on the outside. For three quarters the plan worked like a charm, as Manning and the offense could only muster three FGs. However, with time winding down, the Denver offense made a change to their pace, going hurry-up as they did in week 1 vs. the Steelers. Manning looked like a completely different QB, and the apparent struggles with deep passes seemed to dissipate. Following a Ben Tate fumble at midfield, it took Manning all of two plays to find Brandon Stokley on a great throw and catch up the seam for a 38-yard TD. Denver continued to go no-huddle on their next drive and again Manning looked much better. Manning just missed Tamme on an out-route, who nearly made an incredible catch, just missing dragging his left foot. Manning found Stokley again over the middle for 12 yards, his 4th catch of the quarter. After a bad drop by Thomas, Manning stepped up in the pocket and found Tamme in the slot on in-route for 11 yards. Later in the drive, Manning hit Thomas on a beautiful would-be 31-yard TD pass, but Thomas failed to drag his foot and the TD was ultimately overturned. After a horrendous pass-interference call on Kareem Jackson in the end zone, the Broncos (Manning?) inexplicably called back-to-back running plays. Not only did Denver lose five yards on those plays, but they also lost precious time (a full minute Manning could have used on the final drive). Manning would eventually find Dreessen on a 6-yard TD pass after the ball deflected off Decker's hands and fell right to Dreessen. In three games, it is quite evident Manning and the offense clicks best in the hurry-up, so it is hard not to imagine it becoming a larger part of the offense as the season progresses. Manning didn't throw any INTs on the day, but its safe to say Houston dropped at least two (could be up to five), one of which Jonathan Joseph would have easily walked into the end zone. One of those potential INTs looked eerily similar to the Monday night game last week vs. the Falcons, as Manning tried to go deep over the middle, but the pass took forever to arrive and safety Glover Quin, who had plenty of time to make a break on the ball, should have picked it off.
2012 Week 4 vs OAK (30 / 38 / 338 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
After being shut out of the end zone for three games in the 1st quarter, it was evident Peyton Manning and the Broncos were hell bent on getting a faster start on Sunday. Finally heeding to the success of the no-huddle, Manning didn't take long to work down the field for an opening 22-yard TD pass to Joel Dreessen. Manning used all of his weapons on the 80-yard drive, completing passes four different receivers. Just like in the three weeks prior, and especially last Sunday versus the Texans, Manning looked like the Peyton of old, surgically slicing and dicing the short handed Oakland defensive backfield via the no-huddle and the short passing game. Afraid to leave their corners susceptible, Oakland often only rushed four, not forcing a rushed throw from Manning until Denver's 2nd to last drive, when the game was well at hand. Manning's longest throw down the field was his 22-yard strike to Dreessen, with the majority of the Bronco big plays coming on catch and runs from his wide-outs. After nearly throwing an INT on the first drive after the timing was disrupted on a short crossing route, Manning completed 11 straight passes. Richard Seymour was able to get a hand into the passing lane and got just enough of the throw to disrupt the flight of the pass and knock it out of Decker's reach in the back of the end zone to break the string of 11 consecutive completions. After finding success in terms of yardage on the field, but not on the scoreboard in the first half (a Thomas fumble erased what would have been at least a FG after a long catch and run on a quick screen), Manning made sure to rectify that disparity in the 3rd quarter. What was a four point lead coming out of halftime ballooned into a 25 point lead by the start of the 4th quarter. With no pressure coming from the Oakland defense, Manning was free to hit his underneath receivers ad nauseam. The Broncos first drive of the 2nd half continued the trend established in the first. Manning used the running game to get into short 3rd downs and then easily picked them up with the short passing game. Ronnie Hillman turned a short dump off on 2nd down into a 29-yard gain. Oakland tried to blitz the next play, but Manning found Decker on a quick in for six. After a short run by McGahee, Manning rolled to his left at a bunch formation and found Decker on the quick out on 3rd down. Oakland completely blew the coverage as the corner closed on Manning, leaving Decker to take the three yard out and race up the sideline for the 17-yard TD. Manning would again look to Thomas on the quick screen, but this time on the opposite side of the field for 24 yards. Manning would just miss Decker on the next play, as he found him in the end zone, but Decker was only able to get one foot down before tumbling out of bounds. 2nd down saw Manning again dumping off over the middle to the RB and Lance Ball took the short pass 14 yards for a TD. Manning and the Bronco offense outgained Oakland 181 to 11 in the 3rd quarter and outscored them 21-0, leaving no doubt heading into the 4th quarter. While Manning and his pass catchers appeared to get their timing down (after looking so dreadful the week prior) against Oakland, but temper the enthusiasm just a bit as Oakland was really shorthanded on defense (safety Michael Huff was forced to play corner). Despite the concerns, and apparent struggles, the past two weeks from the passing offense, it still is Peyton Manning. The accuracy and decision making is there (even if the arm strength isn't always there) and Oakland could do nothing to press disrupt those.
2012 Week 5 vs NE (31 / 44 / 345 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning was playing from behind almost from the opening kickoff. Willis McGahee did a fine job keeping relative balance to the offense, but this game was about Manning running the Denver passing attack. He was not afraid to throw the ball down the field, drawing a pass interference call on one occasion to Eric Decker and finding Demaryius Thomas on numerous occasions for big gains. Early in the game, Manning was delivering the ball quickly and keeping New England's pass rush at bay. As the game progressed in the second half, Manning was hit more often when the Broncos were down by multiple scores. Manning rarely was off-target. His most notable miss was a wide open Jacob Tamme, where Peyton sailed a pass high that would have resulted in a 15-20 yard gain. Manning was never rattled and even drove the team down on scoring drives in the second half to keep the game within reach, despite being down by a score of 31-7 late in the third quarter. His biggest throw of the night came on a fourth down play late in the game, hitting Demaryius Thomas on a deep back shoulder timing throw for the clutch conversion. Manning was in sync with his receivers most of the day and remains a strong QB1 in fantasy leagues every week.
2012 Week 6 vs SD (24 / 30 / 309 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
We could just say "Peyton is back" and leave it at that, because the stat line and the comeback speak for themselves. The night wasn't without its trying moments, but they were always alternated with greatness. Manning threw a pick-six, completed 80% of his passes, was shut out prior to halftime which matched the largest halftime deficit of his career, and led the biggest comeback in the history of Monday Night Football all in a span of three quarters. And just think, his 309 yards, three touchdown performance could have been even better if WR Eric Decker hadn't tripped for what should have been an easy first half touchdown. That play came with Denver still sitting on zero points. A blown coverage in the San Diego secondary led to Decker waltzing deep downfield with nothing in front of him but the end zone. Manning quickly found him for a 55-yard pass completion, but Decker tripped and fell over the San Diego 45-yard line. There wasn't a defender near him. That should have gone for an 85-yard score. Instead, Manning threw a costly (at the time) interception that was returned the other way for a San Diego score. As with most interceptions, there was some miscommunication between Manning and his receiver. The receiver took off upfield while Manning threw is soft underneath for the turnover. It wasn't entirely clear which player made the worse read, but in either case at halftime, things looked bleak for Denver. But in the second half, the offense came alive. They engineered a quick touchdown drive in just over four minutes, culminating with Manning's perfect scoring strike that split the defenders to WR Demaryius Thomas. The Broncos gave their quarterback loads of time to throw, and he stepped forward in the pocket looking like the vintage Manning of old. Denver did a much better job of picking up the blitz in the second half, and guys were open all over the place. His second score was a great individual effort by the aforementioned Decker, who got a head of steam on a screen pass and carried several Chargers into the end zone with him. The final touchdown pass of Manning's day was just a beautifully thrown ball on a fade to his old reliable target, WR Brandon Stokley. The catch was also fantastic, as Stokley did a great job keeping his feet inbounds as he came down with the ball and the Denver lead. Two defensive scores also aided in the comeback for sure, but Manning's calm demeanor and precision in the second half was nothing short of remarkable. While it's true that the Chargers did a lot to give this game away, it is equally true that Manning certainly showed more than enough this week to prove that he is clearly back amongst the elite quarterbacks in the league.
2012 Week 8 vs NO (22 / 30 / 305 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Outside of one forced throw on the opening drive, when the Saints blitzed and he threw a hot route blindly to Curtis Lofton who dropped a surefire interception, Manning was outstanding in this game. It obviously helped that he was going against what is likely the worst pass defense in the whole NFL, but still Manning showed his typical poise and control of the whole offense. Manning's first big gain was a deep post route to Demaryius Thomas that was completed with relative ease, but he did miss Eric Decker on exactly the same play from the opposite side soon after. Those two plays were indicative of what was to come however as both Decker and Thomas were open all day. Manning took care of the football all day, except for that early throw, and completed three easy touchdown passes: One went to Thomas in single coverage at the goalline on a backshoulder throw, while the other two went to Eric Decker on excellently run routes. Manning's comfort level in the game was reflected on a 98 yard touchdown drive that led to Willis McGahee's opening score. It was only Manning's third 98+ yard touchdown drive of his career.
2012 Week 9 vs CIN (27 / 35 / 291 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning was on-point and in control outside of two plays in this game. He controlled the line of scrimmage with sustained drives and clutch reads on third down. In a game where Manning was rarely under pressure, the Broncos opened up a 10-3 lead, which frankly felt like a far greater advantage. In the first half, Manning was 15-for-20 with a majority of his incompletions coming not from inaccuracy, but his receivers not fighting for the ball against the defensive backs. With a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter, things unraveled quickly for Manning. With the Broncos in the red zone, Manning targeted Eric Decker on a quick slant where Terrance Newman was physical at the line of scrimmage and beat the receiver to the inside position. Manning threw it to a spot and the result was a costly interception. On the very next drive, the Broncos were backed up at their own goal line. On successive plays, Chris Kuper, Denver's starting right guard was injured and Manning followed with yet another interception. Again, it was Newman on the receiving end when Manning overthrew Decker on a deep route. Those two plays were the sole reason Cincinnati took their temporary lead to open the fourth quarter and the game was not a multiple score Denver lead throughout the second half. After that sequence, Manning returned to his efficient ways, drawing a deep defensive pass interference penalty by targeting Demaryius Thomas and throwing two short touchdowns to sew up the game. Despite the two interceptions, Manning was on his game against Cincinnati and showed, once again, why he is an automatic start every week in fantasy.
2012 Week 10 vs CAR (27 / 38 / 301 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning put on a masterful display at the quarterback position against Carolina, using all the tools at his disposal to maximise the Broncos' offensive output. Manning used his feet to great effect in this game; the Panthers' pass rush continued their strong form and forced him out of the pocket on occasion. It was no obstacle for Manning, who tossed several passes with beautiful touch to his receivers. The Panthers defense did a good job disguising their coverage and making tackles, but Manning was able to take advantage of their man coverage on occasion, 'picking' defenders to find the open man. Manning read the intentions of the Panthers' defense very well the entire game and mixed in the run to good effect. Manning tossed his lone touchdown pass of the game to Brandon Stokley, a favourite target in this contest. In the red zone, with three receivers lined up to the right side, Manning came around on a designed rollout, with his receivers running patterns to that side. Stokley, seeing the Panthers' aggressive pursuit, simply waited in the middle of the field and Manning found him with ease. A special teams and defensive touchdown double meant that Manning did not have to force things for the remainder of the game, and the play-calling reflected that. A blown pass protection by RT Orlando Franklin caused Manning to fumble the football late on, but that was the lone gaffe in protection; otherwise, the Broncos were solid as usual.
2012 Week 11 vs SD (25 / 42 / 270 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The quarterback, who had historically struggled against the Chargers prior to this season, exacted some more revenge on his former nemesis in this game. He beat them for the second time this season and simultaneously all but wrapped up the AFC West division title. Manning was nearly flawless, getting loads of time to operate and making great decision after great decision. In fact, his stat line could have been far more impressive but he just barely missed on two long passes down the sideline - one to WR Demaryius Thomas and another to TE Jacob Tamme. Thomas was jammed at the line, and the timing was disrupted. The pass to Tamme was simply an overthrow, though it appeared that Tamme may have been able to catch it and did in fact get a hand on it. Aside from those two near-hits, one of the only blemishes on Manning's afternoon was a tipped pass that ended up getting intercepted and returned for a touchdown. That was San Diego's one and only lead of the game, and Manning quickly turned things around for the better for the Broncos. He threw two touchdowns prior to halftime. The first was a perfect pass over the shoulder of Thomas, who did a nice job of dragging his back foot to keep inbounds for the score. With that score, Manning passed Dan Marino for second place all-time in passing touchdowns with 421. He added number 422 soon after with a phenomenal pump fake underneath to draw the defenders off his man. He then lofted one up top into the end zone to WR Brandon Stokley for the wide open score. Early in the second half, Manning found himself under pressure in the end zone. He was unable to avoid the rush, and was wrapped up for the safety. But it was the last time Manning would be so much as slowed down. Midway through the third quarter, the Broncos sat at the 20-yard line. Getting all day to throw, Manning was able to wait for WR Eric Decker to streak free across the middle of the field. The San Diego defenders lost him in traffic, so he was able to take off for the end zone after the catch and dive in at the last moment for the score. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers pulling closer, Manning found Tamme down the seam for 31 yards on a third and 18 pass play to chew up valuable clock time (the drive eventually led to a field goal).
2012 Week 12 vs KC (22 / 37 / 285 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Manning was once again slowed by a Romeo Crennel defense, but in the end he did enough to lead his team to victory. He was plagued by drops, and it started on his second throw. Manning threw a beautiful pass down the seam to Brandon Stokley who was lit up and dropped the pass. The highlight of the next drive was a 29 yard completion to Eric Decker on a deep cross. Manning had great protection on the play, which was notable because for most of the drive he did not. Manning showed outward frustration with his line, and the drive ended with a missed field goal. Manning's frustration continued in the second quarter after dinking and dunking his way to mid field. Manning took his first shot deep to Decker, a terrible decision considering he'd been bracketed from the snap. The pass was picked off by Brandon Flowers. Manning bounced back well, leading a 94 yard touchdown drive to end the half. It started with brilliant decision making on the first play. The play was a designed swing pass and Manning had almost released the ball when he saw Justin Houston jump the route. Most quarterback would have thrown a pick there but Manning calmly found Demaryius Thomas over the middle for a 15 yard gain. After a deep completion to Stokley, Manning perfectly placed a couple of slants to Jacob Tamme, including the final one of the drive for a seven yard touchdown. Manning struggled on the first drive of the second half, and again looked uncomfortable in the pocket, but quickly found his rhythm on the Broncos second drive of the half. He finished that drive with a perfectly placed 30 yard pass down the left sideline for a touchdown to Thomas. Coverage was actually pretty good on the play, but Manning placed the ball so perfectly that it didn't matter. Manning completed only one of his next ten attempts, but made two huge throws to essentially ice the game late in the 4th quarter. Both came on third down with the Chiefs needing to get the ball back and both went to Demaryius Thomas, who was wide open. It was quite a chess match between Manning and Crennel, but in the end Manning won if only because Crennel's defense didn't score any points.
2012 Week 13 vs TB (27 / 38 / 242 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / -5 / 0 rush)
If it was a tale of two halves for Josh Freeman, it really was a tale of one quarter for Peyton Manning and the Bronco offense. While Manning never really struggled (only one three and out when the game was in question), the third quarter saw a three-point deficit turn into an 18-point lead. Manning opened the game looking as sharp as ever. His two favorite targets on Sunday, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas on an in for eight yards and Jacob Tamme on an out for six in consecutive plays. Going right back to Tamme two plays later, the two connected over the middle for ten yards. Eric Decker slid across the field on short crosser and Manning hit him in perfect stride, picking up 12 yards on the play. Manning went to the end zone the following play, over shooting Thomas on the deep sideline route. Joel Dreessen lost Manning's next throw in the sun on the quick out, but a penalty on the following play extended the drive. Setting up shop on the Buccaneer one-yard line, Manning faked the hand off before finding wide-open NT Mitch Unrein (who had lined up at FB) in the end zone for the short TD pass. The 2nd drive was the aforementioned lone three and out, with one more completion to Tamme for nine yards before a bad snap killed the drive. Manning and the offense went run heavy on their 3rd drive, but the QB still managed to connect with Thomas on a beautiful 28-yard (the longest play of the day) play fake down the sideline. With tremendous anticipation, Manning dropped the pass right behind the coverage, allowing Thomas to use his speed to run under the throw. Manning connected with Thomas again on a favorite play of theirs on the following drive. Using a quick play action, Manning hit Thomas just off the line and the WR did the rest, picking up 19 yards. The following play Manning connected with Matt Willis over the middle for nine yards before the drive stalled with a bad drop from Knowshon Moreno in the flat. The offense continued to sputter as the 2nd half began, having to punt on their opening possession, but a flip in field position combined with a struggling Tampa offense meant more opportunities for Manning. Taking over at their own 48, Manning threw every play of the 2nd drive in the 3rd quarter. Just like the Broncos' opening drive of the game, Manning went to Thomas for 13 yards on a comeback off play action before hitting Tamme on an out for 15 yards. Manning just missed Tamme on the following play down the seam, throwing behind his TE who couldn't adjust to the pass. After a pass interference penalty took the offense to the Tampa eight, Manning threw what may have been his best throw of the day. Just as Thomas came out of his break in the back of the end zone, Manning placed (literally, as there is no way Thomas adjusted that quickly) the ball in Thomas' arms for the eight-yard TD. Manning's always been uber-accurate, but this was taking accuracy to an entirely different level. Taking over with good field position again on the following drive, Manning worked right down the field again. Manning hit Tamme over the middle for 14 yards and again on an out for nine with a short dump to Moreno for five yards sandwiched in-between. Three plays later, with the offense at the Tampa ten, Manning and Thomas connected again for a TD, this time for 10 yards on a shallow post. Manning made his lone mistake the following drive, not putting enough air on the throw to Tamme over the middle and LB Lavonte David was able to pluck the shallow throw out of the air for the INT. With a 15-point lead to start the 4th quarter, Manning and the Bronco offense went into full clock killing mode, eating up nearly half the 4th quarter. Just as he had done on so many drives prior, Manning hit Thomas and Tamme on the first two plays, for eight and six yards, respectively. Three plays later Manning hit Decker on a shallow crosser for five yards before a quick screen to Tamme went for four yards two plays later. Manning went right back to Tamme down the seam for 15 yards on the following play. Manning nearly made another mistake three plays later, attempting to utilize the Tamme screen as a fake and hit Thomas, who was feigning a block, down the field. Because Manning didn't step into the throw, the pass was in the air for forever and S Ahmad Black nearly came up with the INT. One more incompletion over the middle to Dreessen in the end zone brought the FG team on to extend the lead to 18. Tampa did a nice job limiting the big play, but Manning was more than happy to work underneath and the shorter routes, essentially doing what he pleased on each possession.
2012 Week 14 vs OAK (26 / 36 / 310 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Manning should have been intercepted with his second throw of the game, but a holding penalty explained why he threw the ball straight to Tyvon Branch. Once that interception was written off, Manning led his team down the field with quick decisions, missing twice with an underthrow to Tamme and a miscommunication with Demaryius Thomas, before rifling a pass to Joel Dressen on a curl route in the endzone. Manning was being very precise while making good decisions while driving the Broncos down the field, but he was intercepted deep down the right sideline when he underthrew Brandon Stokley. Questions obviously arose over Manning's arm strength instantly, but much of the throw's poor trajectory was a result of the pressure applied by LaMarr Houston. Manning should have been intercepted again during the Broncos' two minute drill as he escaped the pocket, too quickly, and threw on the run to Eric Deker in the flat. Deker was beaten on the route and a Raiders' defensive back failed to make a diving interception. Manning didn't have anything near his best game, but against the Raiders you can afford to just be 60 percent efficient if you are Peyton Manning. Much of Manning's struggles also can be traced back to impressive play from the Raiders' defense who dominated the trenches at times.
2012 Week 15 vs BAL (17 / 28 / 204 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning had a solid if unspectacular day in the box score, but he played better than his stats indicate. His biggest blemish was a blatant overthrew on an easy long touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, but he also suffered a couple drops here and there, as every quarterback does. Manning faced serious pressure in spurts on a couple drives, but had a fairly clean pocket most of the day, as the Ravens defense slogged through injuries and ineffectiveness that has plagued it throughout the season. Manning's lone touchdown was a beautiful play action call from about 50 yards deep to Eric Decker in which Decker simply stutter stepped his way past 1 on 1 coverage. It's worth noting the cornerback completely gave up on the play, or might have chased Decker down. Manning and Decker also had a near 2nd TD that was initially ruled as such, but was later called down at the half yard line. Jacob Hester ended up cashing that touchdown instead. The Broncos could have also extended more drives, but some of the receivers ended up running routes short of first downs on third down plays.
2012 Week 16 vs CLE (30 / 43 / 339 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After two subpar fantasy performances, Manning returned to his dominant, high volume ways against Cleveland this week. He started with a bang, connecting on 10-of-11 early pass attempts, including a gorgeous touchdown to Demaryius Thomas in tight coverage. He led two touchdown drives to open the game, the second of which was a vintage 15-play, 7-minute drive to take a 14-3 advantage. The lone glaring mistake for Manning in the first half was a poor decision in the red zone that led to an interception. With a touchdown, Denver could have took a commanding 21-3 lead to the locker room, but the turnover gave the underdog Browns some life. Manning rolled left and threw well-short of Knowshon Moreno in the corner on the end zone. The defensive back made a great diving catch on the poor throw to halt yet another long Denver drive. After 285 total yards and 18 first downs in the first half, Manning and the offense only needed to manage the game in the final 30 minutes. Manning led yet another long touchdown drive in the third quarter to seal the game. This time it was 12 plays, covering 91 yards and ending with Manning finding Eric Decker for a score on a contested slant route. With 26 first downs, 420 total yards through three quarters, the Broncos had more than enough to ice the game against a Cleveland offense that failed to move the ball on a majority of their drives. Manning was in-rhythm, rarely pressured, and had the benefit of his playmakers making plays throughout the game. With 4,300+ yards and 34 touchdowns heading into the final weekend with a bye week still in play for Denver, Manning is a strong candidate for comeback player of the year and MVP for 2012.
2012 Week 17 vs KC (23 / 29 / 304 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning capped off a terrific comeback season with a terrifyingly efficient performance against a beleaguered divisional opponent in the Chiefs. Completing nearly eighty percent of his pass attempts, Manning averaged over ten yards per attempt and threw for over three hundred yards for the ninth time this season. Two of his three touchdown passes - one each to Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas - were ladder-climbing, degree-of-difficulty throws in which Manning put rock-solid trust in his receivers to make plays, and make plays they did. His third touchdown pass was an easy pitch-and-catch throw to Decker in the back of the Chiefs' end zone. The Chiefs had no chance of defending these plays, either, as Manning placed these balls into positions where only his wideouts could catch them. The Chiefs defense had no answer for one of the NFL's all-time greats. The Broncos' offensive line kept a clean pocket, and at times when Manning sensed pressure, he easily stepped up in the pocket to get the ball out. Manning ran Denver's no-huddle offense at a breakneck pace, read Kansas City's defense with ease, and changed plays at the line of scrimmage whenever necessary. Manning routinely led his receivers into positions on the field where they could make hay, notably on a twenty-nine yard completion to Brandon Stokely on a deep crossing route, and a twenty-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas on a hitch route. Kansas City tried to defend Manning, at least for three quarters, but the Chiefs basically watched the veteran quarterback pick them apart, play after play. Manning's audibles at the line of scrimmages set up his running backs to chew up yardage, and his receivers to run routes that would generate big gains. He read Kansas City's defense better than Kansas City read its own defense. To top it all off, he Manning did not play in the fourth quarter. In his fifteenth year in the NFL, coming off multiple neck surgeries, Manning seems to be playing at a level that eclipses his prime, and an apocalyptic AFC playoff matchup between he and Tom Brady seems all but inevitable.
2012 Week 19 vs BAL (28 / 43 / 290 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning once again had an up-and-down playoff performance, this time against the Baltimore Ravens. The stage was set for a deep Denver run with a balanced offense, strong defense, a special teams unit capable of big plays, and the no.1 seed for good measure. Trindon Holliday did more than his share in the return game with two scores, including a first quarter punt return that staked Denver to an early lead. Manning got off to a rough start with an interception that deflected off of Eric Decker's shoulder pad which was returned for a touchdown. He rebounded with a strong set of long touchdown drives in the first half, including two gorgeous throws to Brandon Stokley and Knowshon Moreno on fade routes in the end zone. Manning was able to control the clock for most of the first half, but Denver chose to kneel with 30 seconds to go in the first half with two timeouts at their disposal. Manning was 14-of-19 with two scores at that point in time. The second half featured pressure on Manning in the pocket, getting him off of his spot in the pocket, which led to inaccuracy, a sack, and a lost fumble. Denver found itself in a similar situation at the end of regulation as the first half: with the ball, two timeouts, but choosing to kneel and go to overtime. Manning did not look comfortable in overtime, much like the entire second half. As the first 15 minutes of extra time was winding down, Manning had a Brett Favre-like throw across his body towards the middle of the field that was intercepted. The poor throw staked Baltimore just short of field goal range, which they moved into position for the double-overtime victory. Peyton Manning's 2012 season reads much like his typical former years in Indianapolis: led his team with impressive statistics to a high playoff seed, but comes up short in their biggest games of the season. Manning played through the season without an injury to speak of and will return in 2013 with a similar cast of weapons around him and another year of chemistry under his belt. While he will have to wait a full 12 months for another shot at playoff glory, he is in a great situation to be one of the top regular season quarterbacks again in 2013.
2010 Week 1 vs HOU (40 / 57 / 433 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had an excellent game in the loss to the Texans in Week 1. His stat line only tells part of the story. Normally, Peyton Manning completing 70% of so many passes (he attempted 57) would be a recipe for victory but the Houston rushing attack and missed opportunities on offense by the Colts cost the team the game. Manning showed great poise in guiding the Colts offense and really only suffered from a lack of execution by his teammates in being outscored by the Texans. Manning made a number of throws in to heavy traffic against Houston, including a sensational throw to the back shoulder of Reggie Wayne for the team's first touchdown. He completed another deep ball down the middle to Austin Collie that Collie subsequently fumbled at the ten yard line costing Indianapolis a scoring chance. Later, Manning went to Pierre Garcon in the right corner of the endzone but Garcon could not hang on. All told, this could have easily been a day with 43 completions and 5 touchdowns for the Colts star quarterback. Finally, despite the Colts trailing in the second half of the game and moving to the hurry up offense for the final two quarters, there were no noticeable problems as a result of the field umpire moving further from the line of scrimmage as some reporters had speculated might occur.
2010 Week 2 vs NYG (20 / 26 / 255 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning is dangerous enough without a running game. When given a running game to utilize and use play action from, watch out. This game looked incredibly routine from Manning who was never troubled by this Giants defense. From the first snap, he was looking for mismatches and weaknesses in the Giant defense. He immediately noticed the Giants soft run set up on defense, and pounded them with the run. Later, he used this to his advantage on a play action pass deep to Clark for a 50 yard touchdown . It seemed like Manning could pick any receiver pre snap, and have no trouble getting the ball to him every time. Manning spread the ball well, but Clark and Wayne received most of his passes over this deflated and confused Giant defense. His usual laser accuracy made quick work of any one on one coverage match up he liked and his defense gave him many possessions and scoring opportunities in the red zone.
2010 Week 3 vs DEN (27 / 43 / 325 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Just another typical virtuoso day at the office for Manning. Champ Bailey took away Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark was given extra attention by the Broncos, so Manning exploited the mismatch of rookie CB Perrish Cox on Austin Collie all day. Manning had time to throw all day and dropped the ball into small windows on sideline tosses to Reggie Wayne early and Collie for the game-clinching TD. His decision-making was precise and hair-trigger from beginning to end, and he moved the ball well despite the lack of any credible running game to speak of. The Broncos threatened to get back into the game when they had the Colts pinned in their own end with a third and long, but Manning calmly hit Collie deep to spark what ended up being the game-clinching drive.
2010 Week 4 vs JAX (33 / 46 / 352 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
We all know he's a future hall of fame candidate but this year even more than others Manning has been razor sharp and before this game had not thrown an interception all season. Another thing that struck me in this game was even though Jacksonville knows Indy will throw the ball probably twice as much if not more than they throw they still can't generate much pass rush. Manning only took 1 sack the entire game and his ability to buy extra time in the pocket even though chaos is ensuing around him is part of what separates him from other QBs in the league. Manning had no problem driving the ball for most of the game. Indy shot themselves in the foot with a couple turnovers and that changed the game. His 1st interception of the season was not his fault. Manning threw the ball right on the money and the ball bounced off one of his backup tight ends right into the Jags hands and that stopped what looked like a go ahead touchdown. Very little to pick apart in Manning's game. At 34 he seems to be aging like a fine wine. Peyton simply takes what the defenses give him and it doesn't matter who the receiver is because he is going to throw to the open man. Rarely did he throw into double coverage or to a receiver that wasn't open.
2010 Week 5 vs KC (26 / 44 / 244 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
You won't see Peyton get much more frustrated that he was at times during this game. The Chiefs either didn't allow Manning time to get comfortable in the pocket, or they covered receivers well when Manning did have time to survey the field. The Colts passing game consisted mainly of quick throws or check downs, and the Chiefs defense really clamped down on two early drives into their red zone. Manning was almost picked in the end zone, almost pick sixed later in the game, and finally he did make a rare terrible decision and missed Jon McGraw sitting right in the route he was trying to hit, throwing the interception in the second half. Nothing came easy for Manning. He also fumbled on a Tamba Hali sack and got more and more inaccurate, often forcing his receivers to dive, as the game went on. The Chiefs did commit a long pass interference penalty on a ball that might have been uncatchable for the only successful long passing play of the day. Manning didn't play badly as much as the Chiefs defense was not intimidated by him whatsoever.
2010 Week 6 vs WAS (25 / 38 / 307 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Don't let the final numbers from Manning fool you, he got away with a lot on this evening and he was rescued repeatedly by the Redskins inability to catch his errant throws. The Redskins DB's could have easily brought in 4 INT's but they somehow managed to catch none of them. Despite those off-throws, Manning managed to have a very solid game surgically hitting his top targets all over the field and leading the Colts to a victory. His two TD's were both precise passes, one on a bomb to Garcon and the other on a short throw to Collie in the back of the end zone. You got the feeling that Manning would have been able to move the offense if really needed at any point during the contest.
2010 Week 8 vs HOU (26 / 45 / 268 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
Many wondered how Peyton would do with the loss of Dallas Clark and Austin Collie, and without Joseph Addai at running back. Although Manning was able to have a solid game, the losses of key weapons clearly showed up for the Indy offense. Garcon and Wayne were solid, and Tamme looked really good. But the Colts were unable to consistently convert short yardage situations, and couldn't run out the clock at the end due to an injury to Hart. However, Peyton still got things done, Tamme as his safety valve, and adding a touchdown to Reggie Wayne as well. For most of the night though, Peyton seemed frustrated with the weapons around him, and you have to wonder what will happen as this team begins to play tougher defenses in future weeks, and especially when his young team goes on the road.
2010 Week 9 vs PHI (31 / 52 / 294 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning put up another impressive performance in Week 9 against the Eagles with 287 yards passing and a touchdown but the lack of viable targets ultimately cost him the chance to pull out a comeback victory. Manning spread the ball around to six different receivers but relied mostly on TE Jacob Tamme and WR Reggie Wayne. The Eagles kept all of the passes underneath and in front of the defense, limiting the deep ball chances for Manning. Once Austin Collie was injured Manning had even fewer targets and Philadelphia focused coverages to Tamme and Wayne. Manning faced pressure at times from a blitzing Eagles defense which forced two interceptions including Manning's final throw of the contest.
2010 Week 10 vs CIN (20 / 36 / 185 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Although he got off to a fast start, Manning's stat line ultimately fell prey to his team's early 17-0 lead. The Bengals, for their part, did hold the ball nearly ten minutes longer than the Colts (34:11 to 25:49) and as such, Manning and the Colts offense played a pretty conservative game plan throughout. A touchdown pass that could have lightened Manning's stats considerably on the day considerably was ultimately and unfortunately dropped by Pierre Garcon. All in all, there really isn't anything to worry about as this IS Peyton Manning we're talking about, after all. As much as we forget sometimes, he is only human.
2010 Week 11 vs NE (38 / 52 / 396 / 4 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
If ever there was a game when you could honestly say that Peyton Manning wasn't quite at the races, it was this one. Manning had three interceptions against the Patriots on Sunday, one of which ended the Colts potential game winning drive. Manning's interceptions were sometimes as a result of miscommunication between him and his intended receiver, but the first one was simply an overthrow. Despite the mistakes, Manning was his usual efficient self. With no running game to speak of, Manning took what the defense gave him and expertly read the blitz from New England. One of the highlight plays came in the 4th quarter on his pass to Blair White in the back of the endzone. It was a perfect throw over the trailing defensive back and an even better catch. Manning performed well on the day.
2010 Week 12 vs SD (31 / 48 / 285 / 2 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had probably his worst game of the season. He was constantly being harassed by San Diego's pass rush, and it forced him into numerous critical mistakes. It didn't look like it was going to be a bad day in the early going, as he directed the Colts downfield with ease, culminating in a touchdown pass to TE Jacob Tamme. The touchdown was a nice individual effort by the tight end, who caught it short of the goal line but fought to get in. But after that drive, it all unraveled in a hurry for the Colts. Manning made a terrible read looking out in the flat and was intercepted for a touchdown. Soon after, he was hit on the elbow as he threw, resulting in the ball popping straight up in the air. That pass was also picked off. Early in the second half, he again was intercepted for a touchdown return when his pass to Reggie Wayne was stepped in front of by the defender. After awhile, he began getting pretty skittish in the pocket and almost expecting to be hit. He started forcing throws a bit and rushing them slightly, which disrupted the timing. The timing, of course, wasn't really there to begin with. There were several dropped balls and a good amount of miscommunication on many routes. He never was able to get on the same page as his top target Reggie Wayne. He should have completed a deep ball to Wayne down the sideline, but he lost it in the lights. The second interception return was also intended for Wayne, but his feet got tangled with the defender and he fell to the ground (he also looked to have been interfered with on the play). Late in the game, Wayne looked to haul in a long pass down the seam during garbage time, but couldn't hang onto it all the way to the ground, resulting in an incompletion. Manning capped his poor performance with a fourth interception in the end zone while overthrowing Javarris James.
2010 Week 13 vs DAL (36 / 48 / 365 / 2 / 4 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning had another day of fantastic fantasy production mixed with big mistakes at the wrong time. He threw four interceptions total, including two that were run back for touchdowns. In the last two weeks, Manning has thrown 4 interceptions that have resulted in touchdowns. Manning appears to be either too bold or too slow in many of his throws now. Perhaps it's a result of the high volume of passes he is throwing wherein the law of averages dictates that mistakes will occasionally happen, but Manning is turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Another reason for the turnovers is no doubt Manning's receivers not having the same rapport with Manning as longtime teammates Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. On one turnover that was run back for a touchdown, Manning tried to throw a comeback route that was jumped by the defender. In prior years, Manning and the receiver would have likely adjusted the route to a deep pattern to take advantage of an eager cornerback. Outside of the interceptions, Manning was his usual, precise self passing the ball. He completed a pass to eight different receivers and put together two 80 yard drives in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Manning continues o firmly command the offense as his 75% completion percentage would suggest. While the turnovers are certainly cause for alarm, Peyton Manning is certainly still playing at the peak of his game and is one of the finest passers in the league.
2010 Week 14 vs TEN (25 / 35 / 319 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
This performance by Peyton Manning showed everybody that he hasn't missed a beat and he was merely in a minor slump. Manning had a turnover free game and will silence the critics for another year at least. This performance was vintage Manning; he was on form with his receivers, extremely efficient with the football and barking audibles at the line all day. He frequently changed the pass play called in the huddle to a run up the middle, as the Titans were inviting the run with a soft 7 man front with two deep safeties for a lot of this game. When Manning was throwing, he did it off of play action and with great pass protection. He was able to connect with Wayne deep on two occasions for big plays, leading the ball where only Wayne could catch it and almost undefendable. Manning used Tamme and White over the middle as chain movers, using screens and option routes to ensure he stayed on the field. Garcon was his other big play guy, exploiting busted coverage on one play for an easy long touchdown and using pin point accuracy on a slant for Garcons other touchdown. Manning had been challenged as a Quarterback and was not to be denied on this day, moving well in the pocket and never letting the Titans get close to him.
2010 Week 15 vs JAX (29 / 39 / 229 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton looked more like the Peyton Manning of old against the Jags. The throws were quick and decisive, and his offensive line gave him time. However, once Collie got injured, Manning seemed to have difficulty moving the ball as easily, which has been a big part of the problem over the last month. The Jags haven't had a great passing defense this year, but Manning has 2 easy matchups to finish the year as he tries to lead the Colts to the playoffs, despite the health problems of his team
2010 Week 16 vs OAK (16 / 30 / 179 / 3 / 2 pass, 3 / 25 / 0 rush)
Manning made the big plays in the redzone when he had to, and led the Colts one step closer to another division title. But this isn't the Manning of years past, and one of the big reasons is protection. Forced to fire the ball much quicker than normal, Manning has been a bit jumpy lately and it was no different in the game versus the Raiders. Manning seemed just a bit off of many of his throws. It's pretty late in the season to be out of sync with your receivers, but he still is, especially with Garcon. The Raiders are a very good defense versus the pass, and true to form, they disrupted the Colts passing offense for much of the day. However, the Colts relied on the running game, and Manning made the big plays when he needed to, and they held off the Raiders.
2010 Week 17 vs TEN (27 / 41 / 264 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Colts don't seem explosive this year, yet Peyton is setting career records in yards and completions. Peyton's WR's just don't have the downfield talent that they've had in years past. Collie did, but he couldn't stay healthy. Garcon can't hold onto the ball, and Wayne has become a possession receiver, not seeming to run many deep routes. Despite this, Manning played solid against the Titans, didn't make mistakes, and spread the ball around to his four major targets. This team just doesn't have the feel of the 2009 team, and they will be tested right away in the playoffs against a tough Baltimore team. How Peyton responds will be very interesting.
2010 Week 18 vs NYJ (18 / 26 / 225 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning was unable to really get a great deal of rhythm going against the Jets and more then at any other time during the season it was clear how much he missed Dallas Clark. While Jacob Tamme is a solid player, he lacks the experience and big play ability that Clark had in a pinch. Further, while the Jets only had a single sack and the pass rush was at times non-existent, Manning seemed to have a hard time getting the ball to his receivers. Jets CB Darrelle Revis completely removed Reggie Wayne from the game and while Antonio Cromartie was burned on one big touchdown play, for the most part the Jets secondary was able to keep the Colts from totally tearing them apart. This is not to say Manning played badly. In fact, when he needed to, he moved the chains well and got his team into field goal range though other then the big touchdown to Garcon, he couldn't make progress in the red zone. Manning didn't have an awful game, but the removal of Wayne, coupled with injuries to Clark and Austin Collie were too much to overcome.
2009 Week 1 vs JAX (28 / 38 / 301 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -4 / 0 rush)
Peyton was dissecting the defense just like he has throughout his career. No Marvin Harrison? No Anthony Gonzalez? No problem. Manning softened up the defense with lots of short throws to Addai, Clark, Collie, and Garcon, and then struck deep to Reggie Wayne when he was matched up with rookie Derek Cox. Manning had three downfield targets almost connect with Clark (2) and Wayne - he was close to 350, or even 400 yards. His interception was on a goal line fade that the rookie Cox read well, and another scoring opportunity was squandered when Joseph Addai fumbled in Jags territory, but Manning also had two ill-advised deep balls that could have been intercepted by Sean Considine. Manning did not stop throwing when the Colts were sitting on a two-point in the fourth quarter, a good sign that he'll be more aggressive without Tony Dungy in town.
2009 Week 2 vs MIA (14 / 23 / 303 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Manning added another chapter to his growing book of legends, leading the Colts to a victory despite only having the ball for one quarter of the game. He hit Dallas Clark with precise downfield throws to set up a field goal and a TD run by Donald Brown, hit Clark on an 80-yard TD to open the game, and capped it with a short pass to Pierre Garcon that he took to the house. Manning didn't seem to be affected at all by the loss of Anthony Gonzalez or having so few possessions to work with, even when his only possession of the third quarter ended up being the Joey Porter show. He's one of the best to ever play QB, and just when you think you've seen he's not quite the elite QB he used to be, he has a game like this one.
2009 Week 3 vs ARI (24 / 35 / 379 / 4 / 1 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Peyton was a little off early, but once he found his stroke in the second quarter, he took the Cardinals defense apart. Short throws, long throws, inside throws, outside throws, touch throws, bullets, it didn't matter, Manning was locked in. The one interception came because Manning's arm was hit as he was throwing. He ran the offense with precision, like he wasn't even thinking when he was making decisions, just letting the defense tell him where to throw. This wasn't really a fair fight.
2009 Week 4 vs SEA (31 / 41 / 353 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning did what we've come to expect. He toyed with the Seahawks defense, and was never seriously challenged. He spread the ball out effectively, at first taking what they gave him - which means that he marched the team down the field at will, hitting whichever receiver was open, and relying on a strong running game to keep the defense honest. His only blemish was an interception that seemed to be the result of feeding the ball to Reggie Wayne one too many times. After not throwing to him at all in the opening quarter, it appeared that Manning was trying to make it up to him, and made one bad play as a result. The game was out of reach by that time, so it did not hurt him.
2009 Week 5 vs TEN (36 / 44 / 309 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
It is becoming clear that Peyton Manning is back to being the best QB in football this season. Manning torched the Titans defense for 3 TD's en route to his 5th straight 300 yard effort and at one point in the game completed 16 passes in a row. He honestly looks unstoppable right now and is hitting on all phases of his game all over the field. When he was pressured Addai & Clark caught a bunch of passes underneath and then when the defense adjusted, he killed them down field with passes to Wayne & Collie. Manning just seems completely comfortable and at ease taking what the defense gives him. Manning hit Wayne with a short fourth down TD to open up the scoring and help set the tone for the evening. He later hooked up with rookie Austin Collie on a pair of TD tosses, one of which was a nice touch pass into the back of the end zone. Manning could have easily had a 4th TD pass but Reggie Wayne had a rare drop in the end zone. Manning's lone mistake on the night was a short INT on which he was heavily pressured. At this point Manning and the Colts look like a well-oiled machine, mostly unstoppable.
2009 Week 7 vs STL (23 / 34 / 235 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning was his usual self, which means he was dominant as a passer and in total command of the Indianapolis offense. Manning started fast, hitting Reggie Wayne four times for a combined 61 yards and the touchdown to cap the drive. Peyton had three touchdowns, the last of which came with under four minutes to play in a blowout - which has to raise some eyebrows but not Jim Sorgi's value. Manning finished with under 300 yards passing for the first time all year, but the Rams were not a formidable opponent at all and the Indianapolis defense made short fields often for Manning. He remains arguably the best quarterback in the league.
2009 Week 8 vs SF (31 / 48 / 347 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had a frustrating day, as he passed for 347 yards but had zero touchdowns to show for it. He was nearly intercepted early on, and couldn't keep any drives going in the first half. He was sacked for the first time in five games - three times, in fact. Manning also overthrew a good number of passes, but many looked intentional in nature, because the receiver was covered so well. The first time he moved the ball effectively was with 26 seconds left in the half, but there wasn't enough time to get more than a field goal. Manning relied heavily on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark when the going got tough.
2009 Week 9 vs HOU (34 / 50 / 318 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning, as has become the norm, had another excellent day throwing the football against the Houston Texans. He completed just under 70% of his 50 attempts for 318 yards. His yards per attempt (just over 6 per pass) was low compared to his normal standards, but the Texans defense was working hard to keep him from having any looks downfield. Manning seemed satisfied to find Reggie Wayne on curls and outs and Dallas Clark on curls and slants to the middle of the field. Manning had a 7 yard touchdown pass to Joseph Addai on a screen pass in the first quarter to cap an early 12 play drive that set the tone for the Colts. They finished the game with scoring drives of 12 plays, 6 plays, 10 plays, and 8 plays. Manning was sacked twice, both on snaps where the blitz was upon him before he could find the hot-read. Part of Manning's excellence against the Texans came from easily identifying the blitz at the line of scrimmage and quickly targeting either Reggie Wayne or Dallas Clark out of 3 and 5 step drops. Manning also had a fumble that was quickly recovered by Ryan Diem at the line of scrimmage.
2009 Week 10 vs NE (28 / 44 / 327 / 4 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning had an up and down night against the Patriots in Week 10 at home on Sunday Night Football. Manning threw some terrible passes at times, balls that seemed to hang in the air and lack much of a spiral at all, but on other occasions he was picture perfect. By game end, Manning had his typical stellar numbers despite the two interceptions as he led the Colts back for a huge 35-34 win. Next week calls for an interesting matchup against the Ravens in Baltimore.
2009 Week 11 vs BAL (22 / 31 / 299 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning has had better games as a pro to be sure. However the fact that he is able to find a way to will his team to a victory when he is a bit off continues to cement his legacy as one of the greatest QBs the NFL has seen. Peyton was able to shake off two poorly thrown INT's in this one. It marks a rare 2nd game in a row with multiple INT's. Manning showed over and over that when a big play was needed, he was up to the task. He didn't face a lot of pressure and was usually able to spread the ball around, finding enough time to go through his reads and find the open guy. Manning just missed throwing for another 300 yard game and at this pace could challenge the single season record for most passing yards held by Dan Marino. He was robbed of a second touchdown pass when Tom Santi fumbled at the one-yard line, and one of his interceptions came on a deep ball, so there was a bigger day there for Peyton, even against an inspired Ravens defense.
2009 Week 12 vs HOU (27 / 35 / 244 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning as his usual, efficient self against the Texans. The Colts did not try many downfield passes (and at least two that were tried resulted in pass-interference penalties on the Texans). However, Manning skillfully moved the ball by working the outside portions of the field between 8 and 12 yards. He spread the ball around to a number of receivers and utilized both the shotgun formation and 5-step drops to keep the chains moving. Manning's best throw was on a quick-snap to Pierre Garcon. Manning looked the safety off and then threaded a bullet to Garcon between the biting safety and the outside cornerback. The Colts tried to rush the passer at the beginning of the game, leading to two interceptions, but inexplicably lost their ability to get through the line of scrimmage in the game's second half. Manning took advantage of the extra time to throw and engineered an efficient, effective second half to help preserve the Colts undefeated record.
2009 Week 13 vs TEN (24 / 37 / 270 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning avoided throwing any interceptions in this game, which has been a recent problem area for him. Much of the time, he was throwing into tight man coverage. For most of the game, he was unable to hook up with his go to guys, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, so he went more often to Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Later in the game, he was able to find Reggie Wayne for a few good pickups. Overall, a productive day, but it wasn't easy for him. He moved the offense, but struggled at times.
2009 Week 14 vs DEN (20 / 42 / 220 / 4 / 3 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning started this game out hot, and it seemed like the Broncos were powerless to stop the Colts passing game early on. However, as the game went on Manning struggled, and finished with a rare 3 interception game. At one point during this contest the Colts had 9 possessions in a row where Manning only completed 5 of 21 passes with 3 interceptions. The Broncos did not sack Manning on Sunday, but they did make him uncomfortable. Denver's defense was taking away the deep pass by using a 5-under, 3-deep look. With defenders all over his receivers, Manning found it difficult to stretch the field. Instead, he abused the Broncos linebackers in coverage by going to his athletic tight end Dallas Clark. The Broncos had no answer, and failed to stop the Colts with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. After struggling for most of the second half, Manning marched his squad downfield and hit Dallas Clark in the endzone for the touchdown that put the game out of reach.
2009 Week 15 vs JAX (23 / 30 / 308 / 4 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Unstoppable - Peyton Manning is - or at least that is what Jacksonville awoke thinking after their Thursday night game in Week 15. Manning was in complete command of his offense against a woeful Jaguar secondary, completing a perfect 12 of 12 passes in the first half and nearly kept up the same pace the rest of the way as he led his Colts to a perfect 14-0 record. Manning threw four touchdowns on the night and found multiple receivers all over the field at all depths, including a perfect strike of 65 yards to Reggie Wayne to finally get Indianapolis the lead for good. Even his one interception was on target as it bounced off of Dallas Clark's hands. Manning continues to post record after record as he threw for four touchdowns in a game for the 21st time in his career and now has topped 4,000 yards in a season for the 10th time in his career, also an NFL record. The only thing that might slow Manning down right now seems to be if head coach Jim Caldwell decides to rest him over the last two weeks.
2009 Week 16 vs NYJ (14 / 21 / 192 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning played just over half the game, and scored zero touchdowns. The Colts seemed content to run the ball until passing was necessary on most drives. Manning was his usual self. There were a couple of drops (one that would have been a TD), and he was a little off at the beginning of the game, but soon got into a groove.
2009 Week 17 vs BUF (14 / 18 / 95 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning stayed in long enough to get Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark to 100 catches with a lot of very short throws at or behind the line of scrimmage and then left the game. His interception came when Jacob Tamme fell down in a route, and Clark was tackled at the goal line or Manning would have had a TD throw on the day.
2009 Week 19 vs BAL (30 / 44 / 246 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning had a very workman-like effort in leading the Colts to a divisional playoff win. He simply played within himself and made quick reads and throws and got the entire Colts offense involved from the outset. The Ravens defense kept the game within reach until Manning stuck a dagger in them as the 1st half came to close. With just a few minutes left in the half, he found Austin Collie in the back of the end zone for a TD toss. Minutes later he turned the dagger with a last second drive and TD throw to Reggie Wayne. With the lead, Manning played it mostly safe in the 2nd half. Despite the approach, he threw two INT's, however one was a bail out job by Pierre Garcon as Garcon punched the ball loose on Ed Reed's return. On the next drive he threw another interception, but it was called back on a penalty in the secondary. He did what he had to do to earn the Colts a win this week vs. an aggressive Ravens defense.
2009 Week 20 vs NYJ (26 / 39 / 377 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning was uncharacteristically sacked -- twice -- very early on. He fought an uphill battle, but got the best of the Jets defense in the end. In the first half, he had to throw into extremely tight coverage, and in the second quarter was stuffed on a QB sneak at the 1 yard line. Near the end of the half, Manning delivered a couple of clutch passes, two in a row to Austin Collie resulting in a touchdown. In the second half, he had a lot of success targeting Collie and Pierre Garcon. The Jets defense made him sweat - something we don't see to often with Manning, but he never lost his composure, made adjustments as needed, and saved his best for the end.
2008 Week 1 vs CHI (30 / 49 / 257 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Seeing his first game action of the year, Manning looked a little rusty over the first two quarters as he finished the first half ten of 20 for 119 yards. On the Colts' first drive of the second half it appeared as if Manning was starting to get into a rhythm. On that series, the Colt's quarterback finished five for six for 40 yards with a six yard touchdown pass that went to WR Reggie Wayne. Despite the optimistic start to the second half, Manning's final 15 completions only averaged 6.5 yards as he failed to lead the Colts offense to any more points.
2008 Week 2 vs MIN (26 / 42 / 311 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
The most obvious missing element was the stretch off-tackle play to RB Joseph Addai. All of the outside running plays were pitched to Addai. This play in the past set up play action passes. Peyton Manning did not show much mobility at all. Defenders were breathing down Manning's neck all day and he showed his frustration at the end of the first half. DB Antoine Winfield made a great play on the first interception. The next drive seemed like things were starting to come around and then DL Jared Allen made a huge sack on third down. The second half looked much different. Even though Indianapolis could not run the ball everything changed. WR Anthony Gonzalez hauled in a long play that set up their first TD. That play seemed to change Manning and his passing was more precise and he actually started to look like his old self. With no running game and lots of pressure he started to pick the defense apart. Manning was able to hit receivers in stride and make some crucial plays during the fourth quarter.
2008 Week 3 vs JAX (15 / 29 / 216 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 12 / 0 rush)
Manning did not get into a consistent rhythm during the game. He looked excellent in short bursts, but in part to his lack of opportunities, seemed uncomfortable at times. Manning made good decisions in terms of where to throw the ball and to whom, but at times missed the receivers. At other times, such as on their last drive, he seemed in sync with his receivers and moved his team to the go ahead score with a commanding passing performance. Another contributing factor to Manning being off target at times was the Jaguars blitzed he and his depleted offensive line frequently, which disrupted the timing with his receivers. He did show the arm strength to make all the throws asked of him.
2008 Week 5 vs HOU (25 / 34 / 247 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 8 / 0 rush)
Manning had an excellent game while facing constant pressure from the Texan defensive line. He had to combat the pressure by moving around in the pocket to buy time for his receivers to get open. Manning had an excellent first half, completing 11 of his first 13 throws and 13 of 18 for the entire half. He delivered in the clutch as the Colts decided to go for the first down on three different fourth down plays, two coming on each of the opening two drives. On the second fourth down play, Manning called a pass play on fourth and one and connected with a well covered Reggie Wayne for a long gain inside the ten yard line. Late in the game the Colts faced a fourth and seven from the Texan eight yard line and Manning connected with Tom Santi for a key touchdown reception that would be the start of the Colt comeback. His only interception came on a rare poorly thrown pass as he threw behind the receiver and the defender covering him had to make a difficult interception toward the end of the first half.
2008 Week 6 vs BAL (19 / 28 / 271 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
As he has spent much of the early part of the season shaking off the rust resulting from two off-season knee surgeries that kept him out of pre-season action, Manning has not looked like the dominant QB of recent years. That changed against the Ravens. It was the Payton Manning of old that took to the field this Sunday, making his owners - and those of WRs Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison - very happy. Deep throws reigned supreme as Manning regularly took long shots down the field, starting with his first pass attempt deep over the middle towards the end-zone and Reggie Wayne - an incompletion. Manning certainly made up for that early miscue in the Colt's second series as he rifled a long pass down the right side, hitting Harrison (who had cleanly beaten the Ravens' Chris McAlister) in stride for a touchdown. Manning ended the next Indianapolis series in similar fashion as he connected with Reggie Wayne on a 22 yard corner pass for six points. The third of Manning's three TDs on the day came late in the second quarter as Manning fired a 5 yard play-action pass to Marvin Harrison. Having built a 24-0 lead at the break, it was hardly a surprise that Manning's fireworks lessened in the second half, and while he still threw the ball 11 times for roughly 100 yards, none of his throws were of any particular note.
2008 Week 7 vs GB (21 / 42 / 229 / 0 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
QB Peyton Manning was unable to get anything going in this game. The Packers defense played superbly against the Colts vaunted passing attack and held the entire offense in check. Manning did not look particularly sharp. He was held without a touchdown pass but two potential touchdowns were called back after official review but those were after the game was out of reach for the Colts.
2008 Week 8 vs TEN (26 / 41 / 223 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Manning got off to a good start and after getting great field position on there second position of the game, he led the Colts 37 yards down the field for a score. He found an open TE Dallas Clark for a ten yard touchdown pass for his first touchdown pass. But that would be his only highlight of the first half. Manning had an interception in the second quarter after the ball was deflected into the arms of a Titans' defensive back. He would have another pick late in the game. He finished the first half 11 for 17 for 104 yards and one touchdown. Manning would lead Indianapolis down the field on the first drive of the second half and he would find Clark again over the middle for his second touchdown pass of the game. He would add a one yard rushing touchdown late in the game. The Colts line did give Manning time to throw throughout the game but, he had trouble finding his wide receivers down the field. He was forced to either pass underneath the coverage or go to Clark who was able to get open throughout the game.
2008 Week 9 vs NE (21 / 29 / 254 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
QB Peyton Manning threw the ball well and spread the ball among a variety of receivers. Despite the limited possessions, Manning put up strong numbers and the entire offense looked confident and capable. He hit WR Anthony Gonzales for two touchdown passes on the right side and seemed to make the pass every time the team needed a first down.
2008 Week 10 vs PIT (21 / 40 / 240 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning was not his usual self in the game, despite posting good overall numbers. Two of his three TDs came off a short field following Pittsburgh interceptions and the other was off a fortunate tipped ball play where WR Reggie Wayne avoided two tacklers and raced 65 yards. Manning was hurt by some key drops by WR Marvin Harrison and overall his completion percentage was quite low for him, barely over 50%. On the plus side, he was able to avoid the turnovers and made Pittsburgh make long drives when forced to give up the ball.
2008 Week 11 vs HOU (30 / 46 / 320 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Manning threw for over 300 yards, with almost 200 coming in the second half, as the Colts overcame a four point half time deficit to beat the Texans. He was limited in his ability to lead the offense in the first half by an uncharacteristic six dropped passes by his usually sure handed receivers. Each of the passes was catchable, and most of them would have resulted in first down plays that would have kept drives going. The dropped passes were partially responsible for the Colts having to settle for three field goals instead on touchdowns in the opening half. The second half started better as Manning opened up by completing 11 of his first 13 passes, including two touchdowns. The second touchdown pass would not have occurred if it was not for the second effort of Marvin Harrison, who somehow managed to keep his balance and forced his way into the end zone after appearing to be stopped on the two yard line.
2008 Week 12 vs SD (32 / 44 / 255 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning finished the first two quarters completing 16 passes that went for 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception. On the interception, WR Marvin Harrison was open down the deep middle of the field, but the pass was under thrown and it was picked off by Chargers' CB Quentin Jammer. Prior to that pass, the quarterback had thrown 140 passes without an interception. Manning came back after the turnover and led the Colts on a touchdown scoring drive that ended with a 13 yard scoring toss to WR Anthony Gonzalez. The Indianapolis signal caller led the offense on three scoring drives in the second half, with the only touchdown coming when he hooked up with RB Dominic Rhodes for a one yard touchdown pass. On the drive that set up the game winning field goal, Manning was four of six for 36 yards as he moved the Colts to the Chargers' 33 yard line.
2008 Week 13 vs CLE (15 / 21 / 125 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning was not impressive against the Browns. He could not consistently move the ball and seemed to have to constantly force the ball into tight spots. This led to two interceptions, and he never really moved the ball down the field like everyone has come to expect from him. He also attempted a QB-sneak from the goalline, but failed to get in.
2008 Week 14 vs CIN (26 / 32 / 277 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning looked like he was tuning up for some playoff football. The opponent may have been a weaker one, but he just dominated, throwing at will to the open receiver on any given pass play. It was one of those days that one suspects he could have doubled his total numbers if he had wanted to.
2008 Week 15 vs DET (28 / 37 / 318 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning was his typical methodical self and posted a ho-hum (for him) QB rating of 110. He passed 37 times and completed 28 for 318 yards and one touchdown. He barely missed a second TD pass when Reggie Wayne caught a 39 yard pass but was tackled at the Lions' one yard line. Manning opened the game with a 14 play drive for a touchdown. When Detroit tied the score in the fourth quarter he responded by leading his team on a seven play 88 yard drive for the go ahead score. As a demonstration of his consistency, Manning called seven passes and seven runs on the Colts' first touchdown drive. On their last touchdown drive he called four passes and three runs. It has been his improving play over the past seven games, as much as anything, that enabled the Colts to get back into the playoff hunt after their 3-4 start. Through the first seven games Manning had ten touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Over the last seven games he has thrown 13 TDs and just three picks.
2008 Week 16 vs JAX (29 / 34 / 364 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
It's tough to play any better than Manning did in this game. He opened up by completing his first 17 passes of the game, just five shy of the league record for consecutive completions to open a game (a record shared by Mark Brunell and David Carr). Even his first incomplete pass was a situation where the receiver broke off the route and not necessarily a bad pass by Manning. For much of the first half, the Colts attacked the Jacksonville defense with short passes over the middle. But as is often the case, the Jacksonville deep secondary was softened up just enough for WR Reggie Wayne to streak by them and get open deep. Manning easily found him for a 41 yard scoring strike for the Colts' first touchdown of the game. In addition to the score, Manning made a number of passes within drives that were truly remarkable. He was putting the football into such tight spaces and displayed remarkable awareness in the pocket, moving exactly when he needed to and releasing the football at precisely the correct time. It was vintage Manning all the way, and Jacksonville was almost helpless to try and do anything about it. His second touchdown was a short inside screen to Dominic Rhodes, who did most of the work on the play. The third score was a play-action fake where he found TE Dallas Clark wide open in the back of the end zone. Rhodes had actually appeared to score two plays earlier, but officials ruled him down and Manning's no huddle offense left no time to challenge the play. No word yet on whether Manning is playing against the Dominic Rhodes owner in his fantasy league championship game.
2008 Week 17 vs TEN (7 / 7 / 95 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning played early on in the game, getting the Colts on the board with its very first drive, going 7/7 for 95 yards and a touchdown. He and Coach Dungy decided to call it a day for him after this, likely so he could rest up for the playoffs and avoid injury.
2008 Week 18 vs SD (25 / 42 / 310 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Despite his offensive line giving him loads of time to throw for most of the first half, Manning was unable to take advantage of what had previously been a very porous San Diego defense. He didn't look very sharp at times, overthrowing a wide open Reggie Wayne early in the first quarter and nearly getting intercepted on three different occasions later on. He threw two balls that not only should have been intercepted, but also run back for touchdowns (one by Eric Weddle and one by Steve Gregory). In the second half, the Chargers did a better job of making Manning move his feet. On a fourth down pass, DE Luis Castillo flushed Manning from the pocket and forced an incomplete pass. Later, both Gregory and Antonio Cromartie had their hands on near-interceptions. At other times, Manning put the ball into incredibly tight spots with pinpoint accuracy. Even Manning's lone touchdown pass was a product of a busted play defensively. Manning made a headsup up play as he caught the Chargers during a substitution and rushed the Colts up to the line for a no huddle formation. They didn't catch them on the substitution, but even better than that they caught CB Antonio Cromartie not paying attention. WR Reggie Wayne ran right by him and Manning lofted a perfect lob for the 72 yard touchdown pass. By far, the costliest play turned in by Manning came on a third and two pass play late in regulation. All the Colts needed to do was pick up those two yards and the game would be over, needing just a handful of kneeldowns by Manning to make it official. For some reason, the Colts opted to throw the ball but left no one in the backfield to pick up the blitz. LB Tim Dobbins came flying in off the corner, and Manning (in a very un-Manning-like way) never saw the blitzer coming. He double-pumped his pass, and by then Dobbins was all over him for the sack. The Colts punted on the next play, and the Chargers tied the game with a field goal on that same possession.
2007 Week 1 vs NO (18 / 30 / 288 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning and the Colts got off to a slow start in the first half, but got it rolling in the second half and put up big numbers offensively against an over matched Saints defense. After going three and out on the first drive of the game, Manning lead the Colts on a 58 yard scoring drive. Manning hit Marvin Harrison on a 27 yard strike in the back of the end zone. It was the 107th touchdown pass Manning and Harrison have connected on over there career together. The Saints didn't give Manning too many looks down the field in the first half as they kept their safeties back in coverage and played a lot of cover two. Manning's biggest pass play of the first half was a strike to Dallas Clark up the middle for 39 yards. Manning and the offense came out firing in the second half. He hit Marvin Harrison for a big gain of 42 yards on Indianapolis' first drive of the second half when the Saints came on a blitz leaving Harrison alone on man to man coverage. Manning put a perfect deep pass for Harrison and he was tackled on the two yard line. That play would lead to a two yard rushing touchdown. He would come back on the Colts next possession and lead the offense down the field for another touchdown, hitting Reggie Wayne for a 29 yard touchdown pass. Manning came back to Wayne again for another big play late in the third quarter, hitting him on a 31 yard pass that set up another Indianapolis field goal. Manning kept going to Wayne in the second half as he hit him in full stride on 45 yard pass for his third touchdown throw in the game.
2007 Week 2 vs TEN (28 / 42 / 312 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning spread the ball among his wide receivers and tight ends, generally taking what the Titans' defense would give. His only INT came on a play where targeted WR Reggie Wayne stopped running with some apparent leg pain. Manning targeted his tight ends a total of 15 times as the Titans tried to focus on stopping the deep routes. He took a hard hit from Albert Haynesworth on the first play of the second quarter but appeared fine for the duration of the game. The Colts made five trips to the red zone but only came away with a single touchdown which was the touchdown run by RB Joseph Addai. The other four trips ended up in FG attempts by PK Adam Vinatieri. In the red zone in the third quarter, Manning overthrew WR Reggie Wayne in the endzone.
2007 Week 3 vs HOU (20 / 29 / 273 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning opened the game by guiding the Colts on touchdown drives on their first two possessions. He was ten of 12 on the first two drives, with his only incompletions coming on a dump off pass to Addai to avoid a sack and ball thrown into coverage. The Texans were not able to apply any consistent pressure on Manning without blitzing, but when they blitzed Manning would hit his open receivers on quick slants and screens. Manning targeted six different receivers during the game, completing passes to all six. Manning did almost have one interception on a pass thrown to Marvin Harrison that was into double coverage, but the Texans defenders were unable to come up with the interception.
2007 Week 4 vs DEN (20 / 27 / 193 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / -3 / 1 rush)
Manning had a very efficient game, going 20 of 27 for 193 yards. Three short touchdown passes made his outing look strong on the stat sheet, while the biggest smiles came from his one yard rushing touchdown, a QB sneak early in the third quarter. Manning's numbers might have been slightly deflated by not having Marvin Harrison in the second half. Manning did manage to target eight different receivers, completing passes to all eight.
2007 Week 5 vs TB (29 / 37 / 253 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning was very patient and accurate as he typically is, except on a forced deep pass to Reggie Wayne where the ball was under-thrown and intercepted. Manning showed once again why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league by commanding the game and controlling every aspect of the offense, only making one real mistake all game.
2007 Week 7 vs JAX (23 / 37 / 259 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 0 / 1 rush)
Manning had a very solid game, even though his final stats were not exactly spectacular--at least not for him. The Colts emphasized the rush, which allowed them to control the clock against a very fine Jaguar defense that had been extremely stingy versus the run in recent weeks. When asked to throw, Manning picked apart the Jaguar secondary with mostly short passes, and he had eyes especially for Reggie Wayne. With WR Marvin Harrison still hampered by a knee injury, the Colts moved Wayne all over the field to create opportunities, and they obviously succeeded. Harrison was actually pretty active in the first quarter (three targets), but Manning threw to him only twice more after that. Manning threw his only TD pass with about four minutes remaining, hitting a wide open TE Dallas Clark from thirty five yards out for the final Indianapolis score. Manning also ran in a TD in the second quarter on a one yard quarterback sneak. Manning did have a few shaky moments in this game. He was stripped of the ball on one of the two Jacksonville sacks, and he threw an INT in the fourth quarter when Jacksonville still had a chance to get back in the game. He also misfired on a few passes. All things considered, though, he put in a masterful performance on the road in a critical game against a very good defense.
2007 Week 8 vs CAR (14 / 30 / 255 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning started off slowly but brought the Colts on strong as the game went along. He completed 14 of 30 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He would have had a third touchdown but a penalty brought back a short pass to Addai that went for a score. After the penalty, the Colts ran Addai and he scored from 12 yards out. Manning was slammed to the turf on a late hit. He was shown on the sideline working the smelling salts to clear his head and he did not miss any playing time due to the hit.
2007 Week 9 vs NE (16 / 27 / 225 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Manning had an up and down game against the Patriots. His first half was vintage Peyton Manning. He was nine of 15 for 145 yards, including the 73 yard touchdown pass to RB Joseph Addai. That was enough to give the Colts the lead at halftime, 13-7. The second half was a different story for Manning and the Colts, who managed just seven points for the half, mainly a result of turnovers. The score came on a Manning quarterback sneak, but his two second half turnovers certainly hurt the Colts chances of putting away the Patriots, who trailed 20-10 following the Manning touchdown. He was pressured constantly by the Patriots, who not only forced the two turnovers, but also added three sacks and held the Colts to five of 12 on third down conversions. Manning's fumble on the team's final drive ended up being their last possession of the game.
2007 Week 10 vs SD (34 / 56 / 328 / 2 / 6 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning completed 34 of 56 passes for 328 yards two touchdowns and a surprising six interceptions. Without two of his three favorite targets in Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark, Manning appeared to start the game out tense forcing balls into tight coverage, and putting a little too much on his own shoulders rather than letting things come to him. The Chargers capitalized, picking him off four times in the first half of the game. Eventually Manning got into more of a groove, finding some chemistry with backup tight end Bryan Fletcher, as well as the always reliable Reggie Wayne. With the Chargers up as much as 23-0 in the first half, the Colts running game became less of an option, though it was fairly ineffective even when they did go to it. To top it off, the Colts starting offensive tackles Tony Ugoh and Ryan Diem were both unavailable due to injury, forcing backups into the game in a make-shift line. Despite pretty strong play from those backups, the odds were against him leading a comeback. The Colts had a chance to take the lead with 1:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, but Adam Vinatieri missed a 29 yard field goal wide right, essentially allowing the Chargers to run out the clock. There was a last ditch effort with mere seconds on the clock, but Manning ended the game with his sixth and final interception on a desperation pass.
2007 Week 11 vs KC (16 / 32 / 163 / 0 / 1 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
Peyton Manning had one of his worst games in recent memory. He appeared to be bothered by the loss of his longtime main receiver, Marvin Harrison. The remaining Colts receivers did not help out his numbers by dropping five balls that were catchable. Manning showed why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game by adjusting the passing attack after half time to take advantage of what the defense was giving them when they blitzed. In the second half the Colts countered the Chiefs pressure by throwing quick, short passes to move the ball. Also, Manning was a perfect four for four on the Colts' game winning drive in the fourth quarter and gained the final first down on a quarterback sneak on a fourth and one on the Chiefs three yard line.
2007 Week 12 vs ATL (22 / 32 / 272 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning welcomed back Anthony Gonzalez with eight targets and 105 yards passing. Manning looked a lot better this week with a competent second wide receiver to complement Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. He started slowly but eventually tore apart the defense on several drives, but still had ten incompletions on the day. Six of those incompletions came targeting Reggie Wayne.
2007 Week 13 vs JAX (20 / 29 / 288 / 4 / 1 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
Manning overcame a strong initial pass rush by the Jaguars to end with excellent passing numbers. Although he targeted Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne with the majority of his passes, he did so on a wide variety of routes, and usually connected with them. Manning once again showed complete command of the offense, and was comfortable making any throw he attempted. Manning showed a killer instinct by going deep to Wayne for a 48 yard touchdown on the play immediately following a ruling by the referee that overturned an apparent fumble recovery by Jacksonville. He overcame an interception in the end zone by showing poise as the Jaguars continued to try to pressure him, and led his team to the victory.
2007 Week 14 vs BAL (13 / 17 / 249 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had an extremely efficient evening, despite only playing two and a half quarters. He threw four touchdowns despite only attempting 17 passes. Rookie wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez was his preferred target, and Manning hooked up with his WR twice on deep balls for a touchdown. The game was well in hand in the third quarter, so Manning left the game and let backup Jim Sorgi see some game action.
2007 Week 15 vs OAK (22 / 39 / 276 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Manning put up pedestrian numbers by his standards, 22 of 39 for 276 yards and just one touchdown, but he engineered a 91 yard come from behind drive in the fourth quarter. He was sacked three times and was pressured most of the game. In the first quarter Manning moved past Joe Montana for seventh all time in the NFL for career completions.
2007 Week 16 vs HOU (28 / 35 / 311 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning greatly rewarded owners who believed head coach Tony Dungy when he said he was going to play his starters like he usually would. Manning put up huge stats through just three quarters of work, and he would've been replaced in the fourth quarter regardless of what week it was since the Colts were up 38-7. He was so efficient with all of his passes that his seven incompletions looked better than the majority of Sage Rosenfels' 22 completions. Nearly all of Manning's 35 passes could have been caught, and a great many of them were. He was under some pressure in the first half, but he did a good job of moving his feet and getting himself into a good throwing position, as usual. And the Houston defensive backs never really had much of a chance. Despite having to deal with the early losses of Joseph Addai and Anthony Gonzalez, Manning simply moved on to the next best available targets and made the most of those players' abilities. He made a fantastic throw to Dallas Clark on Clark's second score. With Clark cutting from left to right and the defender crossing from right to left, Manning put the ball a hair behind Clark in a spot that only he could get to. It was a perfectly thrown pass and was typical of how well Manning saw the entire field and basically couldn't be stopped.
2007 Week 17 vs TEN (14 / 16 / 95 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning came out throwing as the Titans were giving the receivers room to operate close to the line of scrimmage. Manning took advantage by hitting his receivers on short routes mainly on the outside part of the field. As hard as it is to believe, his numbers could have been better but Bryan Fletcher dropped a catchable pass for Manning's first incompletion. When Manning left the game he was on the sideline acting as a mentor to Jim Sorgi.
2007 Week 19 vs SD (33 / 48 / 402 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / -6 / 0 rush)
Manning was seemingly channeling Tom Brady's performance of one night prior by opening up 11-11 with 123 yards and a touchdown through the first quarter of play. It appeared as if he could do no wrong and the Chargers would be powerless to stop him whatsoever. He was completing passes to every pass-catcher on the team and there was no semblance of a pass rush to really speak of for the better part of three quarters. Even both of his interceptions weren't his fault, as they were the result of tipped passes that ended up in San Diego hands. In fact, the one ball Manning threw that SHOULD have been picked off, wasn't. LB Shawne Merriman dropped back into coverage and had a Manning pass hit him right in the hands. He batted it around several times before it fell incomplete. It appeared as if some of the magic the Colts had found in last year's postseason was going to carry over to this year, as they came back from 14-10 and 21-17 deficits in the second half (both times culminating with touchdown passes courtesy of Manning). But they had two opportunities with the ball over the final five minutes of the game and were unable to capitalize with any points. On the first possession, Manning drove them 70 yards to the doorstep of the San Diego end zone. But on second, third, and fourth down, Manning's passes to Joseph Addai were all knocked away or fell incomplete. On the fourth down play, Manning was being chased down by LB Shawne Merriman and under pressure for really the first time all game. The pass was thrown on the run and fell awkwardly incomplete. The Colts had one last chance to come back and had the ball down four at their own 32 yard line with 1:30 left to play. But they moved the ball just five yards on four plays, the drive culminating with an incomplete pass that was just out of the reach of an outstretched Dallas Clark along the sideline to essentially end the game.
2006 Week 1 vs NYG (25 / 41 / 276 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had a typically excellent game. He was the primary focus of the offense, as the rushing game wasn't effective. Manning led his team on several scoring drives, although there were opportunities for touchdowns that ended up only producing field goals. His stats were solid although unspectacular. Manning's favorite targets were Harrison and Wayne, although the tights ends and running backs saw several looks as well. He handled the Giants' pass rush well, frequently moving both in and out of the pocket to avoid pressure and get off passes. Manning did make a few bad decisions, as his one interception could have easily been three had it not been for drops by New York defenders.
2006 Week 2 vs HOU (26 / 38 / 400 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Manning had the kind of game everyone expects from him, spreading the ball around amongst his teammates and controlling the line of scrimmage. Both Harrison and Wayne had huge games, each over 125 yards. Manning consistently picked apart the Texans' defense with pinpoint passes. Someone seemed to be open on every play, and Manning consistently found that guy. He had one interception called back because of pass interference in the end zone.
2006 Week 3 vs JAX (14 / 31 / 219 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 0 / 1 rush)
Manning was effective, though not spectacular. He stood in the face of an aggressive Jaguars' pass rush, and without the benefit of a rushing threat, made enough plays to secure the win for the Colts. Although he overthrew open receivers at times, Manning remained aggressive in his quest for scores, and looked for big plays whenever he was able to buy some time in the pocket. He could easily have had more yards and touchdowns had it not been for outstanding play by Jacksonville's secondary to break up passes that could have resulted in big gains and scores. Manning pulled off a quarterback bootleg flawlessly, fooling the Jaguars' defense and easily running in for the score, but it was his game management that won the contest for the Colts.
2006 Week 4 vs NYJ (21 / 30 / 217 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Manning completed 70 percent of his 30 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown (to Bryan Fletcher). Manning did not throw quite as often as normal, because the Colts were effective on the ground. However, he did a good job of managing the game. Manning led the Colts on the game winning touchdown drive in 90 seconds with no timeouts. His one yard touchdown sneak came on a quick snap, and seemed to catch the Jet defense off guard. He also caught the Jets off guard with a quick snap earlier in the game on Joseph Addai's two yard touchdown run. Manning was 11 for 14 for 96 yards and one touchdown in the fourth quarter.
2006 Week 5 vs TEN (20 / 31 / 166 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Once again, Manning led the Colts back in the fourth quarter to win a game this season. He completed 20 of 31, was not always sharp, but did just enough to win. On Manning's eight yard scramble, Keith Bullock nearly took his head off on a play eerily similar to the play in which Trent Green suffered a concussion. Manning also threw a potentially disastrous interception in the fourth quarter at the Titans' seven yard line and trailing 13 - 7.
2006 Week 7 vs WAS (25 / 35 / 342 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning had an extraordinary game. He completed 71% of his passes and went over the 300 yard mark. Manning was hit hard and bent over backward very awkwardly in the second quarter. He called a timeout so he didn't have to leave the game for a play. Before the half, he left for the locker room a few seconds before the rest of his team--apparently to receive treatment. When Manning returned at the start of the third quarter, he was absolutely unstoppable, throwing for touchdown strikes on the Colts' first three second half possessions. He finished the game with four total touchdown passes. Manning's favorite targets were wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, although he spread the ball around to seven different receivers.
2006 Week 8 vs DEN (32 / 39 / 345 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning showed why he is considered to be one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. Although he was accurate in the first half, he made the necessary adjustments that enabled him to help his team score enough points to pull off the win. Manning showed superior touch on all the various types of passes, and he usually picked the right open receiver to throw to. He showed great poise as he led his team down the field for what eventually would be game tying and game winning drives late in the game.
2006 Week 9 vs NE (20 / 36 / 326 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Manning had an excellent performance, throwing for over 300 yards and finding Marvin Harrison for two scores. Once again his favorite targets were Harrison and fellow wide receiver Reggie Wayne. He threw to each of them over ten times. Manning was pressured by the Patriots' pass rush to the tune of three sacks (a season high) and he threw his third interception of the year.
2006 Week 10 vs BUF (27 / 39 / 236 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning took what the defense gave him. He was never pressured, didn't take a sack, no interceptions, and had all day to throw the ball. With the Bills playing in a five man back field nickel package, there was nothing down field to throw to. Harrison was double teamed all game, and Terrence McGee played very strong man-to-man defense on Wayne. Manning was given the underneath throws, and had no pressure against a four man front. Manning took advantage and moved the chains. He was able to throw to Wayne on fade slant timing patterns, where his throw had to be perfect, and it was every time. Manning played a smart game, but it wasn't anywhere near the explosive fireworks he is capable of.
2006 Week 11 vs DAL (20 / 39 / 254 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Manning kept his team in the game, but was unable to produce enough big plays for his team to come away with a win. At times he seemed to be in sync with his wide receivers, and moved the ball well, but he did not have the same rapport with his other receivers. As such, when Harrison and Wayne were not open, he struggled to find an outlet receiver. While he showed his trademark brilliance at times, Manning had an average game by his standards.
2006 Week 12 vs PHI (14 / 20 / 183 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning had a good game, completing 70% of his passes and throwing one touchdown to Reggie Wayne. His statistics were depressed by the domination of the Colts' running game, which was the primary focus of the offense, especially in the second half. Manning became the quickest NFL player to 3000 career completions, doing so in 139 games. He beat the previous record holders, Drew Bledsoe and Dan Marino.
2006 Week 13 vs TEN (21 / 28 / 351 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Manning had another monster game, completing 21 of 28 passes for 351 yards and a 68 yard touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison. He also had a touchdown pass called back for offensive pass interference, and threw two interceptions. Manning and the Colts' offense struggled a bit in the second half, as Tennessee controlled the clock with an efficient rush attack, and they were able to muster up only three second half points. Unfortunately for Manning and the Colts, they just ran out of time following the Bironas field goal.
2006 Week 14 vs JAX (25 / 50 / 313 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Manning did not play as well as his numbers indicate. He was pressured throughout the game, and had several passes tipped, and was also affected by his receivers dropping several passes. He compounded this by overthrowing receivers at times during the game. At times Manning made excellent throws, but seemed to be pressing at other times, as it became apparent the Colts had to score quickly and often due to the Jaguars having as much success running the ball as they did. The lack of a running threat made it even more challenging for Manning. Although he finished with over 300 yards passing, he accumulated some of them when Jacksonville had established a large lead, and were allowing completions in front of them and preventing big passing plays.
2006 Week 15 vs CIN (29 / 36 / 282 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
Manning played an almost flawless game. He completed over 80% of his passes and was patient throughout the game. The Bengals tried to take away the chance for big plays, so Manning focused on the short passing game and took what the defense gave him. Only two of his completions went for 20 yards or more as he involved the running backs and threw completions to seven different players in the game. He even scrambled 12 yards to convert on third down. After the Colts' first drive ended in a field goal, Manning found Marvin Harrison for a four yard touchdown on the next possession. Then on the following drive, Manning tried to run the ball in himself but was stopped for a loss. He responded by going straight back to Harrison for a three yard score. In the second half, Manning hooked up with Harrison for a 22 yard gain, his longest completion of the day. Manning found Harrison for their third score of the day on a well-thrown pass in the corner of the end zone for a one yard touchdown. On the following possession, Reggie Wayne was the recipient of an 18 yard pass that found him in the back of the end zone.
2006 Week 16 vs HOU (21 / 27 / 205 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning went for 4,000 yards for the seventh time in his career. He showed poise and led the Colts on two scoring drives in the first half, completing touchdown passes to both Marvin Harrison and Aaron Moorehead. On a third down conversion attempt in the third quarter, Manning got tripped up but still nearly completed the pass to Aaron Moorehead. He threw a third touchdown to Marvin Harrison on the Colts' last drive. Manning appeared frustrated on the sidelines with the Indianapolis defense.
2006 Week 17 vs MIA (22 / 37 / 282 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 11 / 1 rush)
Manning was too much for the Dolphins defense to handle. While he didn't post huge numbers, he threw for a respectable 282 yards and two touchdowns against a tough Miami defense, and added another score on the ground, running one in from 11 yards out. He also helped set up two field goal scores, and his fourth quarter touchdown to WR Marvin Harrison proved to be the difference in the game. Manning's other passing score came from two yards out to DT Dan Klecko, who was lined up at fullback.
2006 Week 18 vs KC (30 / 38 / 268 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning completed 30 of his 38 passes, but he will be relieved to get the win after throwing three interceptions. Things started well enough as the Colts scored a field goal on their opening drive. Manning hit Marvin Harrison for a 42 yard gain on the next possession, but failed to convert on two plays from the two yard line. Manning targeted Dallas Clark in the end zone on one of the plays but threw the ball over his head. On the Colts' third drive, Manning and Harrison were not on the same page, and Ty Law intercepted a pass intended for Harrison. Manning was intercepted again later in the half as he targeted Aaron Moorehead in the end zone, only to see Jarrad Page jump in front of the receiver to make the catch. In the second half, Manning seemed more patient. He appeared content to take what was offered underneath, and Dallas Clark caught nine of his 10 targets in the game. But another miscommunication between Manning and Harrison resulted in a second interception for Ty Law. Manning and Harrison could be seen on the sidelines discussing what had gone wrong. Manning recovered and threw a five yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne for the only Colts' passing touchdown of the game. After the game, Manning accepted responsibility for the two miscommunications with Marvin Harrison.
2006 Week 19 vs BAL (15 / 30 / 170 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Manning had another shaky playoff game, completing just 50% of his passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He did lead the team on five scoring drives, but they all resulted in field goals. Manning only completed three passes for gains in excess of 15 yards. Reggie Wayne saw most of the early targets as Manning challenged Samari Rolle rather than Chris McAlister. As the game progressed, Manning looked to get Marvin Harrison involved in the game, but two of his passes were intercepted by Ed Reed and both were throwing errors. One was intended for Harrison and the other was meant for Dallas Clark. Two or three other passes could have been intercepted, but the defenders dropped the ball on each occasion. Manning had the chance to throw a 51 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Moorehead at the end of the first half, but he threw the ball too close to the sideline and Moorehead caught the ball out of bounds after juggling the ball. Manning converted a huge third down play with a perfect pass to Dallas Clark to help seal the game late in the fourth quarter.
2006 Week 20 vs NE (27 / 47 / 349 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 0 / 1 rush)
It was truly a tale of two halves for Peyton Manning. After struggling throughout the first half (and some might say his entire career in big spots), Manning came up larger than he ever has before in leading his team to victory in the second half. In the early part of the game, HC Bill Belichik's magic touch appeared to be at work once again. Manning was harassed and hurried, and not terribly crisp. While the Colts were taking some shots downfield, they were just a hair away from converting on all of them. The lowest point for Indianapolis and Manning was on a pass midway through the second quarter that was intended for Marvin Harrison. The Colts had just fallen behind 14-3 when CB Asante Samuel jumped in front of the Harrison pass and intercepted it. Thirty-nine yards later he had a touchdown and New England had a seemingly insurmountable lead. Yet despite falling behind 21-3 and facing a halftime deficit of 21-6, the Colts never backed down. Even late in the game when the Colts fell behind again and Manning had to make plays to win, he was able to exorcize his past playoff demons and rise to the occasion against the Patriots. Right out of the locker room after halftime, things appeared different. Manning led the Colts to touchdowns on each of the first three second half possessions, including a QB sneak by Manning and another score on a screen pass to Dan Klecko. There was even a dramatic late game injury thrown in for good measure. On a pass attempt to Reggie Wayne, Manning's thumb appeared to strike Tarik Glenn's helmet. After the series, he was seen on the sideline clutching his thumb and wincing. At one point, he motioned to backup QB Jim Sorgi and was seen telling him to be ready. Yet Manning never left the game because of the injury, and actually looked stronger afterwards. His passes were timely and crisp, he found players all over the field, and was given the opportunity he's been hoping for with 2:17 on the clock and the ball at his own 20. Manning swiftly led a seven play drive (on which he was 3-4 for 57 yards) that took a little over a minute, culminating in the game-winning touchdown run by rookie Joseph Addai.
2006 Week 21 vs CHI (25 / 38 / 247 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning threw an interception on the Colts' opening series while looking for Marvin Harrison, but he settled down after that and was awarded the MVP. Manning faced a familiar defensive scheme as the Bears focused on preventing the deep pass. Most of Manning's passes were underneath, and Joseph Addai was his leading receiver with ten catches. Manning threw deep for Reggie Wayne after the Bears blew coverage, and Wayne was wide open for a 53 yard touchdown. Manning found Addai, Harrison and Dallas Clark for first downs as the Colts held the ball for long periods in the first half. Reggie Wayne almost had a second touchdown, but Manning's pass was caught just out of bounds, wide of the end zone. Manning lost a fumble to Mark Anderson on one of the few occasions that the Bears' defense got to him.
2005 Week 1 vs BAL (21 / 36 / 254 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Manning struggled to lead his team to points early, as the Colts only scored three points in the first half on five drives. On the one scoring drive of the first half, Manning threw an interception to S Will Demps in the end zone that was called back because of an off sides penalty on DE Terrell Suggs. The first half was simply a great offense being stymied by a great defense. Manning came alive in the second half after a punt on the first possession, leading the Colts to two consecutive touchdown drives. Starting on their own 37 yard line, Manning led a seven play, 63 yard drive ending with a 23 yard strike to WR Marvin Harrison. After another Baltimore punt, Manning led a four play, 71 yard drive capped with a 26 yard touchdown strike to TE Ben Utecht. Manning evenly distributed his passes among his top three wide receivers, targeting each a minimum of nine times. The crowd was loud but he was able to call plays and audible at the line.
2005 Week 2 vs JAX (13 / 28 / 122 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning just looked down right awful in the game. He did not appear to be in sync with his receivers at all in the game and was frequently off the mark with his passes. Coach Tony Dungy commented that Manning even looked off in pre game warm-ups. Manning finished the game with just 122 yards passing, no touchdown and an interception. Manning finished the game with a quarterback passer rating of 44, one of the worst of his career. He was very unsettled in the pocket and appeared to be forcing his passes. He was able to orchestrate the fourth quarter 88 yard drive that put the Colts in the end zone but most of that was due to the running of Edgerrin James.
2005 Week 3 vs CLE (19 / 23 / 228 / 0 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Manning finished with a strong completion percentage of 83% posting 19-23-228. Not the five TDs that many were wishing for, but still a very solid game. The Cleveland defense loaded up in the deep backfield, taking away the entire long pass opportunities. Manning responded by taking the short game that was given to him, completing all but four pass attempts. The one time that Manning tried to stretch the field with a long pass, he threw into triple coverage for an interception.
2005 Week 4 vs TEN (20 / 27 / 264 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Manning looked like the QB we saw in the 2004 season. With the successes of opposing teams in the last few weeks using five defensive backs, the Titans opened the game in the same set. This time the Colts were prepared employing a two TE set throughout the game with Dallas Clark lining up in the slot. Manning was easily able to continue to move the ball to TEs Clark and Fletcher, forcing the defense to move back in to guard them. At that point, Manning lit up the field concentrating on Marvin Harrison. Manning received very little pressure (facing maybe four blitzes on the game) with the Titans concentrating on the deep passing lanes and was able to pick apart the shorter end of the field with ease.
2005 Week 5 vs SF (23 / 31 / 255 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
This was a substandard performance for Manning and the Colts' offense. Manning finished with 255 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Manning was unable to find his go to receiver in Marvin Harrison, who the defense was surprisingly able to take away. The passing offense didn't need to carry the game, and Edgerrin James carried most of the positive offense on the day.
2005 Week 6 vs STL (22 / 32 / 191 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
Manning was very solid in this game, directing the Colts' offense to the win. He led his team on seven scoring drives, four of which were direct results of St. Louis turnovers. He connected with both Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison for second half touchdowns. The later was the 86th between the duo, a new NFL record. His yardage total wasn't spectacular due to throwing primarily short slants, screens, and underneath routes. It was a good case of the team taking what they were given.
2005 Week 7 vs HOU (21 / 27 / 237 / 2 / 1 pass, 6 / 12 / 0 rush)
Manning was on and off in the first half, with turnovers following each of the team's first two scoring drives. On the first possession he hit slot WR Brandon Stokley on a 24 yard gain that set up a touchdown run by RB Edgerrin James, but was hit on the next drive for a sack, which he fumbled and lost to the Houston defense. He followed that with a scoring pass to TE Dallas Clark, where he recognized the Houston blitz and hit Clark in stride for the score. On the club's next drive, he was intercepted in Indianapolis territory, a turnover that led to a Texan touchdown that tied up the game before half. The second half was all Colts, as the club scored on every possession but their last, where they ended up taking a knee to end the game. Manning, following two first half turnovers, was sharp on all three possessions of the second half and finished the game 21 of 27 for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
2005 Week 9 vs NE (28 / 37 / 321 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / 24 / 0 rush)
Manning was obviously very motivated for this game. His performance highlighted the strengths of his game, as he repeatedly led his team on scoring drive after scoring drive, often on sustained drives of ten plays or more. He had no problems picking apart the New England secondary, managing his first 300 yard game of the year, and three touchdown passes. He threw a first half interception on an under thrown pass to tight end Dallas Clark. Uncharacteristically, he ran for 24 yards on three scrambles. He ran his normal offense calling plays at the line and did not seem to be affected much by the crowd outside of a few plays. He was extremely aggressive forcing New England to alter their game at times catching them substituting players on defense.
2005 Week 10 vs HOU (26 / 35 / 297 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
The Texans sacked Manning on the first possession forcing the Colts to punt. That was effectively the last time the Texans would slow down the Colts in the game. Manning went the rest of the way almost unpressured as he threw for just shy of 300 yards with three touchdowns. Manning spread the ball around of all three of his wide receivers with ease. As the Texans would try and shut down a receiver, Manning would find the next with little trouble. This was textbook Colts, as Manning was solid in the pocket, spread the ball, and moved the offense without contest.
2005 Week 11 vs CIN (24 / 40 / 365 / 3 / 1 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
Like his counter part across the field Carson Palmer, Manning was a picture of perfection on the day. Manning came out white hot with the first five Colts' possessions resulting in touchdowns. The only low spot on the day was when Manning was intercepted as he was forcing the ball down field to Harrison in the two minutes of the first half. In the second half, with the Colts up by two scores, Manning locked into Marvin Harrison, but couldn't successfully get him the ball on a regular basis due to the increased coverage. For the game, on a whole, this was classic Manning, certainly in the first half of the game.
2005 Week 12 vs PIT (15 / 25 / 245 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had an effective, but not incredible fantasy outing against the Steelers. He threw touchdowns passes on the Colts' opening drives of each half: the first to Marvin Harrison, the second to tight end Bryan Fletcher. He threw a costly interception in the first half that gave the Steelers a glimmer of hope, as the turnover was converted into seven points. After scoring to open the second half, Manning managed his team on long drives that consumed lots of clock.
2005 Week 13 vs TEN (13 / 17 / 187 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning threw 17 passes, the second lowest total of his career. Manning spread the ball in the first half throwing to six different receivers with touchdowns to WR Marvin Harrison and TE Bryan Fletcher. After the Touchdown strike to WR Reggie Wayne in the third quarter, the game was taken over by Edgerrin James. With the Colts up 18 points, Manning spent the rest of the day handing off and throwing to James. Manning threw a total of five passes in the second half, where two of them went to James. This was classic Manning in the first half, moving the ball with ease against the Titans. Manning was not needed in the second half.
2005 Week 14 vs JAX (24 / 36 / 324 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Manning displayed many of the attributes that make him the quarterback he is. He made adjustments throughout the game that seemed to result in him finding the open receiver most of the time. He was aggressive and went after the Jaguars when he saw an opening, and took the shorter throws when there was no one open deep. In this game, Manning relied heavily on his big three offensive players, Harrison, Wayne and James. He only threw six of his 36 pass attempts to players other than those three. He sealed the game on a third and long play with less than two minutes remaining, when he threw a pass in the face of an onrushing lineman, and completed it for a 12 yard gain for a first down. Manning again displayed a knack for making the right decisions, and being able to make any throw to any part of the field. He played a very good game.
2005 Week 15 vs SD (26 / 45 / 336 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Manning started slowly, mostly due to the unexpectedly intense pressure he faced from the Chargers front. He was sacked on the first play of the game, and it didn't get much better from there. The Chargers got to him early and often, and he suffered several huge hits at the hands of San Diego defenders. Both of his interceptions were not entirely his fault, as they bounced off of would-be receivers and into the waiting hands of San Diego defenders. Of course, he had some good luck as well, as Drayton Florence dropped a sure interception at the goal line. Later on in that specific drive, Manning made what amounted to be a terrible call at the goal line. After a Reggie Wayne reception got the ball to the one, the Colts stalled. The got to a fourth and one situation, and rather than run Edgerrin James or play-action to another receiver, Manning tried to bootleg around the corner. Unfortunately for him, there were several Chargers that weren't fooled on the play, including Shawne Merriman who came up with the sack. Manning's game stats could have looked better in the early going, as he twice had receivers taken down at the one (though he did throw a score eventually on one of those). He also had a ball dropped in the end zone by sure-handed Marvin Harrison. Manning played well in the second half despite continued pressure from San Diego. He simply made play after play to bring his team back. The comeback came up a bit short, however, thanks to a surprisingly bad mental error on Manning's part. With the Colts down by two and at the San Diego 23 yard line (in FG range), Manning inexplicably flung the ball out of bounds under pressure and was whistled for intentional grounding. Following a third down sack, the Colts had the ball at the 38 yard line and were now well out of FG range. After a punt, Chargers RB Michael Turner took off on an 83 yard touchdown to put the Chargers up nine, and seal the win.
2005 Week 16 vs SEA (9 / 12 / 116 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning had plenty of time to throw while he played in the game. He played for two series through the beginning of the second quarter. On a fourth and three play, Manning completed a 15 yard pass to Reggie Wayne. Throughout the rest of the game, Manning called the plays in for Jim Sorgi.
2005 Week 17 vs ARI (1 / 2 / 5 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Manning played the team's first series of the game and completed one of two passes.