by Ethan Michaud 11/19/15
Peyton Manning has long been regarded as one of the great, if not the greatest, quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. He solidified his name in history once again this past Sunday, surpassing Brett Favre as the league’s all-time passing yards’ leader, ending the game with 71, 871 yards (Favre sits at 71, 838). However, the end of Peyton’s game came long before the Broncos were handed their second loss on the season.
Before Sunday’s game, Manning was statistically already having the single worst season of his career, with his lowest completion percentage and highest interception percentage since he started with the Colts in 1998. And despite starting this week’s game on high note, things went downhill fast from there.
Manning went 5 for 20 for 35 yards with 4 interceptions, no touchdowns, and 2 sacks, posting a career low 0.1 QBR before he was benched halfway through the 3rd quarter. A performance of such a low caliber had never been recorded by Manning during his career, and not in all of the NFL since Warren Moon in 1986 when he went 5 for 23 with 4 interceptions and no touchdowns.
On top of that, this would be the first time in his career that Manning would ever be benched mid-way through the game and replaced for performance issues. Instead of Manning on the sideline, backup Brock Osweiler would get his first game time of the season, only his 14th game on the field for the Broncos since 2012.
News emerging post-game indicated that Manning was dealing with a torn Plantar Fascia in his left foot, and also would miss next Sunday’s game against the Bears, giving Osweiler his first NFL start (14 for 24, 146 yards through 1+ quarters last week).
This will also be the first time Peyton will miss a regular season game since he missed the entirety of his 2011 season with Indianapolis after off-season neck surgery.
Manning, pulled from the game due to his performance issues, can’t blame it on his injury, especially being his left foot. Also, Peyton remained standing much of the time he was sidelined in the third quarter. So the question then becomes, is Manning reaching his end?
Talk has surrounded Manning, his age, and waning performance this season as he puts up record lows, but this game seems to have been a catalyst that opened the floodgates for a more in-depth look at what Manning’s future holds.
Missing his first start ever next weekend with a foot injury seems very unlike Peyton, and Osweiler will have his chance to show the Broncos what he can do in his first NFL start. Based on the Broncos decisions and Peyton’s apparent health, time seems to no longer be on Manning’s side, and he may have already started his fall from the top after becoming the new number one all-time.