“I’ve always said this about Peyton: When you play 17 years and you play at a high level every year, great things are expected,” Anderson said. “Peyton threw a few picks, but no one talks about that touchdown throw. That’s him being a great player.”
The 39-year-old, sure-fire Hall of Famer was intercepted three times during Sunday’s overtime win, giving him a league-high 10 picks through the first six weeks. Manning is on pace to throw 27 this season, while his 72.5 passer rating would be his lowest in a season since his rookie year in 1998. Only Ryan Mallett (63.6) has a worse passer rating among qualified quarterbacks this season.
Then again, Manning did throw a 75-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders, and he led the Broncos for the game-winning field goal in overtime.
“We’re not playing as well as we would like but we’re playing well enough to win,” Manning said, via ESPN. “We’re doing some things right at critical times whether it’s the last drive of the game or in overtime.”
The Broncos are now 6-0 heading into the bye. The unbeaten Green Bay Packers will travel to Denver for Week 8. The week off could bring some healing and understanding to an offense and quarterback in need of both.
Manning’s teammates don’t seem worried.
“Why am I encouraged?” receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “His team is still 6-0 and he’s not playing his best ball, and we’re not playing our best ball as an offense.”
The Broncos rank 13th in points scored and 29th in yards gained per game. A defense with 17 takeaways and four return scores has kept Denver afloat through the ups and downs of Manning’s offense.
Greatness may still be the bar from which we judge Manning, but he hasn’t even been mediocre in 2015, regardless of the standard used. Despite the pleas of teammates, the Broncos are winning in spite of their Hall of Fame quarterback.