Peyton Manning looked great in this weekends 25-17 victory against the Chiefs going 21/33 for 290 yards in the air, getting a TD through the air and adding another himself on the ground. What’s that? Nevermind, apparently that was 17 years ago in his first match up against the Chiefs. Pretty sure if Manning had tried to rush for a TD on Sunday his bones would have turned to dust immediately. Obviously, Manning didn’t have a career day going 5/20 for 35 yards, 4 INTs and 2 sacks.
Cory Dickerson, who also suffered from plantar fasciitis this season, is only 26 years old and was limited to 65 games because of the injury. So while Manning didn’t have a career day it might have been the last day of his career. To pay respects to his 4 interceptions, let’s take a look at 4 reasons Manning won’t tie the laces up again (Shit, he already can’t even do that? Well this should be easy….)
Reason 1: His Contract
Good news Denver, in a league where all you need to win is a decent quarterback you have a Superbowl MVP! He’s a steal at $19M next year and I’m pretty sure he’d be willing to restructure that deal into some Ovaltine and the ability to yell at the practice squad to stay off his grass from his front porch. Actually, while Manning does have a full no trade clause (who would even take him?) his contract is only guaranteed if he is on the roster at the end of this year (which is March 2016). Best case scenario is Elway sends Clarence Boddicker to Manning’s house in the offseason to blow him away so he can come back in 2016 as Robo-manning. That seems unlikely though and I’d be shocked if the Broncos take the risk of keeping a non-half robotic Manning on the roster so it looks like 2015 is likely the last in Denver for Manning.
Reason 2: Osweiler’s Contract
Brock is in the final year of his rookie contract and is going to be paid $660k this year. Next year he becomes an unrestricted free agent so right now he’s playing for a contract – either with the Broncos or another team. He’s also never started a game in his three and a half year career. On the plus side, he looked decent on Sunday when he replaced Manning going 14/24 for 146, rushing for another 18 and offsetting his TD with an INT (he also had two other passes that were nearly picked off). It’s something to build off of though as they travel to Chicago to play a Bears defense that has given up over 200 passing yards a game and only has 5 interceptions all season. If the Broncos think Osweiler is the next Aaron Rodgers why not let him finish out the year to get some experience heading into 2016. With or without Manning the Broncos are losing in the first round of the playoffs so there’s not much to lose.
Reason 3: Records
Luckily, before Manning turned into a pumpkin at midnight, he was able to get the yards he needed to surpass Favre for the career passing record. He now owns all the biggest records: most passing yards all-time (71,871), most passing TDs (539), reddest postgame forehead, most passing TDs in a season (55), whitest guy to pull of a single black glove, and most passer yards in a season (5,466). Judging by Sunday’s performance he’s most likely not going to catch Favre’s 6,300 career completions (Manning is at 6,120) unless he plays until 2029. I’m glad he got the record Sunday so we don’t need to worry about Peyton “Nykesha Sales” Manning being carted onto the field next Sunday for a single play. Unfortunately he’ll never match some of Brady’s records (most friends named Dorito Dink, most Guru’s sued multiple times for fraud) but he has a ring, Superbowl MVP, 5 league MVPs (another record), and is going to the Hall of Fame. Not much left to play for except most times carted off field in a body bag.
Reason 4: This Injury is serious
Apparently, this has been an on going issue for a few weeks and over time the irritation develops into a tear – which supposedly happened against the Colts the week prior. Once it tears, the injury is said to feel like walking on broken glass. Manning has made Cutler’s contract look like a steal this year and not having a foot to plant on during the throwing motion isn’t going to help him stop under throwing his receivers. In 9 games, Manning has only thrown more TD’s than INTs two times (Weeks 2 and 3) and is on pace to throw 145 picks this year (that’s a rough estimate). From what is out there in the media, it seems like Manning needs at least 3 week to fully heal. In that time they play Bears, Pats and Chargers. If they can go 2-1 and stay in the hunt, why not stick with Osweiler and let him develop? At the very least ride Osweiler into the playoffs, pull him in favor of Manning in Round 1 only to have Manning throw 12 INTs in the first half leading to Osweiler signing a contract with the Jags at halftime.
In the end, Manning isn’t Elway about to lead the Broncos to a Superbowl. He’s Apollo Creed about to get crushed by Drago and this injury is a graceful way for the Broncos and Manning to get out of watching Manning drop back for a pass only to have his foot go further downfield than his pass.