In Peyton Manning’s short-lived career as a Denver Bronco, he’s gone 20-for-30 for 221 yards with 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
It’s probably not the way anyone thought the start of his season would go. However, what separates great players from good players is their ability to move on.
“We call it the five-second rule, basically,” tight end Joel Dreessen said. “You have five seconds to feel as happy as the play you just had or as sad as the play you just had. You’ve got to get over it.
Get over it he did. Manning led the Broncos on a late second quarter drive that was capped off by a Matt Prater field goal right before halftime to put the Broncos ahead 10-9. He ran the no-huddle offense to perfection connecting with Brandon Stokley and Eric Decker among others during the drive.
The energy in the orange-filled stands grew and grew. The fact that the Broncos are spending $96 million on a guy who has had four neck surgeries and didn’t play last season didn’t even phase anyone.
Manning’s home debut wasn’t exactly what he expected because he didn’t really have any expectations.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations, because there was a lot of unknown- on kind of how I would feel,” Manning said. “It’s nice to be back out there playing, and I think the more I play, hopefully the more comfortable I will get.”
Manning finally took a hit and fell to the ground. It was a question that was looming in the media during training camp. How would Manning feel after getting hit?
“I’ve never heard a crowd cheer for an incompletion before,” Manning said. “I think the next pass was to [WR Brandon] Stokley, right? [That's] what I told you I was going to do.”
Manning did indeed complete a 22-yard pass to Stokley on the next play.
Despite the zero touchdown, three interception performance that Manning has put forth in a Broncos uniform, there’s still a sense of peace in Broncos Country. We haven’t had a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback under center since John Elway. It was Elway that put his trust in Manning – his arm, his neck, his brain – to get the team back to the Super Bowl.
Just like Manning’s neck needed time to heal, his play needs time to pick up. Week one is still three weeks away. In Manning’s world, that’s a lot of time to improve, and you can be sure that he’ll do just that.