The Denver Broncos are riding the Peyton Manning training for better or worse, but his first game in 2015 and his form in preseason and the end of last season should be very concerning to them.
Manning completed only 24-of-40 passes for 175 yards with one interception and a passer rating of just 59.9 while getting sacked four times as the Broncos won 19-13 against the Baltimore Ravens to open the season. The offense didn’t score a touchdown, and that’s very similar to how things went in the preseason, with Manning struggling to get the team in the endzone. Relying on the defense all the way?
The second half of last season showed Manning is hitting the inevitable decline hard and fast, but it’s still hard to accept that someone who looked unstoppable not too long ago is constantly under throwing receivers and simply looks like something is holding him back, although talk of injury and illness, this season and in the previous one, might be a way to mask the fact that he’s gotten old.
Manning has a streak of 51 consecutive games with a touchdown pass before hitting his cold streak. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three of his last five regular season games since the streak ended, and although he did throw a touchdown pass in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season, he was far from impressive, looking slow, inaccurate and weak.
The Broncos aren’t preparing to move on from Manning, not right now. Brock Osweiler can relax and wait. But it’s getting clearer and clearer that relying on Manning to carry this team with his throwing isn’t a very sound strategy going forward, unless the Super Bowl is no longer the goal for the Broncos.