Rob Lowe, you were so wrong.
Peyton Manning has played all of 11 games as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and he is already on pace to write his name into team lore. With 3,260 passing yards in those 11 games, Manning is positioning himself to break a Broncos’ record as well as his own.
You may remember back in January 2012, Lowe tweeted what his sources were telling him and that he was, “Hearing my fave #18 Peyton Manning will not return to the #NFL. Wow. #Colts.”
To be fair, he was lambasted for what his “sources” were whispering into his HootSuite, but he certainly wasn’t the only one questioning how an aging quarterback with two vertebrae that are grafted together would fare.
If Manning continues his pace of 296 passing yards per game, he’ll end the regular season with 4,742 yards, supplanting Jay Cutler‘s 4,526 as the highest in Broncos’ history. Perhaps even more thrilling for the 36-year-old? He is on pace to break his own mark of 4,700 yards in 2010.
Grantland’s Bill Barnwell wrote a piece in August (which is as superb as it is wrong in its prognostications) that questioned the reasons for Manning’s decline in “Advanced Passing” statistics during his final season in Indianapolis. Suspected culprits were decline in supporting cast talent, age, and the idea that Manning was playing through a neck injury that was plaguing his 2010 season.
Barnwell was openly critical of Denver’s receiving corps, calling them, “the worst crop of wideouts Manning’s ever had to work with by a wide margin.” That argument is out since this “crop” is yielding huge bushels of yards regardless of what the talent level is on an objective level. Manning’s age is certainly out since he has obviously gotten older since two years ago. Perhaps then, it really was an issue of injury that has now been corrected. Whatever the cause, Manning is proving that he is still capable of a high level of football, even to the point that it may leave Broncos fans celebrating their new passing champion later this month.
“In all likelihood, a vintage year of Manning will only be enough to maintain Denver’s record from a year ago, ” wrote Barnwell at the end of his article.
Manning’s vintage year does have the Broncos maintaining their win total from a year ago. There just happen to be 5 games left to play.