In sports, just like in life, all good things must come to an end. However, sometimes these good things come to an end in a rather strange and funny way – something that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning can testify to after his team lost to Kansas City Chiefs on the same day in which he had become the most prolific passer in NFL history.
Just a few moments after he had crossed the record previously held by Brett Favre, head coach, Gary Kubiak benched. In another time or place, the decision would have caused mayhem and even a lot of hate mail directed towards the coaching staff. On Sunday however, the move was justified and the living legend would be the one to agree to it.
A simple four-yard out pattern to running back Ronnie Hillman made the league’s curators edit the history books. With the completion, Manning had surpassed Brett Favre with 71,840 career passing yards, an astonishing feat that will be really hard to best.
For a man that is Peyton Manning, the celebration was short-lived and never before he had experienced such a special moment so awkwardly. Furthermore, his day was about to become even more awkward. Before setting the record, Manning was clearly struggling throughout the quarter and was constantly threaten by the agility of Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters.
As the game wore on, Manning’s achievement faded into obscurity as the veteran quarterback blundered his way against a very aggressive Chiefs defense.
Before he was replaced by Brock Osweiler late in the third quarter, Manning managed to complete only 5 of 20 passes for 35 yards – clearly awful stats but it was his ball protection that let the team down on countless occasion.
Moreover, Manning threw four interceptions on Sunday and became the first player since 1986 to do so while completing only five passes.
In all honesty, Manning himself never claimed to have one of the league’s strongest arms even though he could make the necessary throws at one point in time. Moreover, the fact that he has had multiple neck surgeries means that his throwing ability was always going to be affected at this stage in his career.
Today’s Manning is not the one we saw two years ago in the Mile High City. He is unable to push the ball down the field which is something the opposition understands and takes full advantage of.
Throughout Sunday’s contest, there were several instances where Manning struggled to have any velocity about his deep passes which gave an already aggressive Chiefs team further impetuous to get the best out of its corners on the edges.
Manning was never known as an athletic quarterback and is more of a static pocket passer. Back in the day, his pocket awareness and excellent footwork covered his athletic shortcomings. Now at the age of 39 and waning powers, the pressure is really getting to him which is why he was sacked twice by Kansas City.
Osweiler on the other hand, put up a really good show and threw for 146 yards while leading the team to a pair of touchdowns during the 29-13 loss. Even though the Broncos are still a great team and now have a really decent and young QB on the roster, it is hard to see a team that has so many veterans go to the Super Bowl.
Manning’s legendary career is nearing its completion but the same can be said of many of his teammates.