Bronco talk



Keywords: bronco talk
Description: Denver Bronco Talk

When John Elway was made executive vice president of football operations in Jan. 2011 no one understood the need for a fixture at the quarterback position more than him.

When Elway lured Peyton Manning in this offseason, he made sure Manning felt comfortable. He wanted Manning to feel he could thrive in a place like Denver much like he had thrived in Indianapolis – he wanted him to feel restored but more importantly that he would have Manning’s back no matter what the outcome.

To this point, not even Elway could have imagined it would play out quite like this. Landing Manning could well turn out to be the most important free agent acquisition in Denver Broncos history.

Two Monday nights ago in San Diego Manning further solidified his legacy with the largest come-from-behind win of his career. Trailing 24-0 at halftime, Manning threw three second half touchdowns en route to the Broncos 35-24 victory. But for Manning it wasn’t just the largest come-from-behind win in his career, it was also his 37th career fourth quarter comeback.

The comeback placed him one ahead of Dan Marino for all-time on the list of fourth quarter comebacks and three ahead of his boss, mentor and friend John Elway.

As the Broncos adjourn from their bye week Manning finds himself in the top ten in most quarterback statistical categories, ranking second in passing yards per game (301.3) as well as quarterback rating (105.0) and tied for fourth in the league in touchdowns with 14.

Manning is on pace to eclipse his single season mark in yards (4,700) as well as put up a very productive 37-touchdowns, all while clipping at a near 70-percent completion rate. Manning is the biggest reason the Broncos find themselves in a tie for the lead in the AFC West and not in its basement.

In Denver’s three wins this season Manning has been spectacular, throwing eight touchdowns as well as amassing a near perfect 130.2-quarterback rating.

In the Broncos three losses Manning hasn’t been bad either. If you take away the first quarter in Atlanta Week 2, where he threw three interceptions and had arguably his worst quarter as a Bronco, Manning has six touchdowns, no interceptions and has thrown for 906 yards and has still managed a quarterback rating of 87.0.

And while a 3-3 record isn’t likely where Manning and the Broncos envisioned themselves when the season started, consider that through the first six games the Broncos have faced a combined opponent record of 24-14 (63-percent winning percentage) easily the toughest schedule so far in the league. And in the final ten games the Broncos will face teams with a combined 22-42 record – the 32nd ranked schedule.

Through the first portion of the 2012 season Manning has proven not only that he can still compete at a high level as a 36-year old but also manage and take over games much the way he did throughout his time in Indianapolis – a place where he won four league MVP awards.

Is a fifth in the making? If Manning continues to build on the successes he’s already having in his short time in Denver, talk of another MVP may become a real reality.

On Sunday the Broncos will begin the second swing of their 2012 schedule and a win over a bounce-back Saints team could go a long way in determining what type of character the Manning-led Broncos adopt the rest of this year.

With each win Elway can be more reassured that he has found his affirmation at quarterback – at least for the next few seasons. And if the Broncos have deep playoff aspirations in the coming years, the addition of Manning will likely prove to be the foundation that got them there.






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