IRVING — Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has had some great years in his career, but this year he's on track for his best season yet.
“I think we're still finding out what plays we can hang our hat on and what plays that we can go to in crunch time,” Manning said on Wednesday. "Yet we’re not afraid to add some wrinkles to give us a better chance to move the ball."
Denver is averaging more than 44 points per game, and Manning is on pace to top 5,700 yards passing and converting 64 touchdowns. Both would be NFL records.
He really is playing unbelievable,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. “Everybody knows that. I'm not saying anything you don't know already. He's probably the best quarterback in the history of all time. I don't know. He'll be in the Hall of Fame, I think, we know that for sure.”
Manning alone has thrown for more yardage in his first four games than 23 other teams have gained in total offense.
Included on that list are the Dallas Cowboys.
“People are saying, 'Boy, Peyton Manning is really on a roll,'” said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. “It started in about 1998. He's as good a quarterback that has ever played, and has been for like I said a decade-and-a-half.”
When you compare Manning’s numbers to those of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, the biggest difference is not just the yardage, but getting into the end zone.
After four games, Manning has twice as many touchdowns — 16 compared to Romo's 8. The passing numbers look like this:
Manning: 117 completions on 156 attempts for 1,470 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Romo: 110 completions on 152 attempts for 1,015 yards and 8 touchdowns.
“Just to have this opportunity to go up against him, like I said, the ball is going to be out,” said Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne. “You've got the opportunity to go out and make plays, makes it fun.”
The Cowboys last faced Manning in December 2010, a game Dallas won in overtime. Cowboys rookie linebacker Sean Lee returned an interception for a touchdown in that game.
He's a complete player,” Lee said. “Mentally, physically... he can make every throw. He's extremely smart, experienced guy, savvy guy and he's played for a long time. He's got the complete package. He's your prototypical type of quarterback."
A quarterback that is expected to give the Cowboys defense fits on Sunday afternoon.