Manning has hit his stride in Denver
BY ARNIE STAPLETON Associated Press
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
10/17/12 at 4:09 AM
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Turns out reports of Peyton Manning's demise were ridiculously premature.
Denver's quarterback has been outstanding by every measure since throwing three interceptions in the first quarter at Atlanta a month ago.
His trio of wobblers that night left critics questioning his stability, strength and stamina after spending all of last season on the sideline.
His latest Monday night performance went much better as he engineered the biggest comeback of his career in the Broncos' 35-24 win at San Diego and tied Dan Marino for first place with his 47th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime.
"These comeback victories are great," Manning said, "but all it means is that you screwed up in the first half."
For once, they were able to overcome their first-half foibles as Manning vaulted the Broncos (3-3) into a first-place tie with the Chargers atop the AFC West after a treacherous early-season schedule that lightens up considerably after their bye this week.
Even with four neck operations to match his four MVP trophies, the quarterback is on pace at age 36 to throw for more yards than he ever has before and complete more of his passes than he ever did in Indianapolis.
If he keeps this up, he'll also post the second-best marks of his career in attempts, completions, touchdowns and QB rating along with his second-fewest interceptions in a season.
Any more questions about his health or his hardiness?
"Everyone talked about him a couple weeks ago, but he's been the least of my worries," coach John Fox said. "I think he's just going to get better and better."
Consider this: Since matching his worst quarter, interception-wise, of his career against the Falcons in Week 2, Manning has thrown for 1,519 yards with 11 touchdowns and just one interception in 195 passes - and that pickoff wasn't even his fault. Matthew Willis didn't recognize the overload on his side and failed to adjust his route accordingly Monday night, allowing Quentin Jammer to step up for an easy pick-six.
So, how much better can Manning possibly get?
"I think maybe the word is not so much 'better,' but 'more comfortable,' " Fox said Tuesday. "Everybody's adjusting, and they're doing a good job, and they're working hard to get there in a hurry. ... There's always something you can improve on. You never think you've arrived, so we still have a lot of work to do."
Like figuring out how to quit digging themselves into such big holes. The Broncos have found themselves trailing by 20 points to the Falcons and Texans and by 24 to the Patriots and Chargers.
Original Print Headline: Manning hits his stride in Denver
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning pumps his fist as he leaves the field following his team's 35-24 win over San Diego on Monday. LENNY IGNELZI/AP