For about the first half of the 2014 NFL Season, Peyton Manning was breaking records left and right and once again looking MVP’ish compared to the rest. But the rest of the way? A smaller workload, but also poor performances make it seem like maybe age and injuries of the past have finally caught up with him.
Manning and the Broncos are trying to make it seem like a planned thing. Yes, he’s had his problems with interceptions and especially completing passes in the red zone, ranked third from the bottom in completing passes inside the opponents’ 20-yards from weeks 13 through 17 (39%, behind only Blake Bortles and Robert Griffin III), but the Broncos make it seem like they’re not too worried about his sudden decline, and it’s more about finding out more things about themselves.
Manning was number one in the NFL through the first 12 weeks of the season in red zone completion percentage and QBR. Is making him take a step back been that “effective” or is Manning really battling certain injury issues that have cost him accuracy, arm strength and overall hurt his timing and ability to make the right decisions?
Maybe that’s true, but the Broncos have just (probably) one home game to play in these playoffs. They finished behind the New England Patriots which means they play the Indianapolis Colts at home and then might have to play in a stadium they’ve lost quite a lot in in recent years, including getting crushed this season.
But maybe Manning taking a step back has actually been to give the Broncos an opportunity to improve their running game and give C.J. Anderson more touches and confidence.
We’ve tried to find different ways to win football games, and hopefully that prepares us well when we get into these playoff games and anything can go on. You never know what it’s going to be, and I think we’ve proven we can win games different ways. Hopefully that serves us well potentially on Sunday.
Manning threw only three touchdown passes in four December games while tossing six interceptions including four when losing to the Cincinnati Bengals. After posting a passer rating of 111 or higher in eight of the first 11 games, Manning has shown that kind of ability only once in the final five games, when they beat the San Diego Chargers. He finished with a 111.9 passer rating in the week 1 win over the Colts.