Focus On: Peyton Manning

Focus On: Peyton Manning

Credit: Getty Images

Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos rolls out of the pocket and looks for a receiver downfield against the Philadelphia Eagles at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 29, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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by JOE URSERY

WFAA Sports

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 11:32 AM

The good news, Cowboys fans, is the win-then-lose-then-win pattern we've become somewhat accustomed to over the past 2.25 seasons suggests the team is due for a win on Sunday!

The bad news: Peyton Manning apparently sacrificed a few neck vertebrae to some kind of strange titan or deity to become the best football quarterback ever, and he's going to play against the Cowboys on Sunday.

The bad news kind of outweighs the good news, in this instance. I'm sorry.

If you want to try to find a little bit more of a bright side, it's likely that Manning isn't nearly as good as his performance has been this season; because no quarterback has ever really been as good as Manning has been over the past four games over a whole season. To wit:

Manning's completion percentage this season is a silly 75%. The best season, in terms of completion percentage, by a QB ever was Drew Brees's 2011, where he completed 71.2% of his passes.

The difference between Brees's 2011 and Manning's 2013 is equal to the difference between the #1 overall season and the #29 overall season.

Similarly, Mannings' 138.0 QB rating is also very, very far ahead of the top full-season QB rating. For context, the difference between Manning's current pace and the top season of all time (Aaron Rodgers' 2011, 122.5) is equal to the difference between the #1 season of all time and Randall Cunningham's age 35 year.

The Broncos have averaged 9.4 yards per pass attempt. That means, on average, each Manning pass is about ten inches short of being a first down.

Historically, there's not much comfort to be found in Manning's matchups against Monte Kiffin. In 2003, Manning beat Tampa 38-35, behind 34 of 47 passing, 386 yards, 2 TDs, and one interception. In 2007, Manning beat Tampa 33-14, throwing 29 for 37, 253 yards (progress!), 2 TDs, and one interception.

If the trend of throwing one interception against Kiffin-led teams continues, it will be Manning's first INT of the season. He's attempted 156 passes. He's used his top three targets – DeMaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker – almost equally, so the thought that you could scheme one target away doesn't exist.

For a team that just got dismantled by the NFL version of Kenneth Ellen Parcell, things look mighty dark indeed. My suggestion is to divorce emotion from the game, and just enjoy a player who's standing head and shoulders above every other player in the game- because, from a statistical standpoint, the Cowboys' best hope is instant and harsh regression.

The bad news is regression, in this case, means Manning is just a Hall of Famer, not a football demigod.

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