After ten straight wins and a 12-3 record, Peyton Manning is looking for a lot more. Manning’s father and legendary quarterback, Archie Manning, sat in the back of the media room listening to his son speak about whether he’s as good now as he was in his prime.
“I don’t [think so],” Manning said. “I do not. I’m trying to be as good as I possibly can be at this stage. And a 36-year-old quarterback, coming off a year-and-a-half off, playing on a new team, I’m trying to be as good as I possibly can in this scenario.”
As good as he can possibly be in this scenario is 30-for-43 passing for 339 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception in the Denver Broncos’ 34-12 win over the Cleveland Browns.
As good as he can possibly be is five games this year with 300+ passing yards and 3 touchdowns.
As good as he can possibly be is a win (and a Houston loss) away from the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Manning feels like he’s not the player that he used to be, but the numbers and the wins are still there.
“I’m still kind of learning about myself physically and what I can do,” Manning said. “It’s still the truth, and I still have things that are harder than they used to be and things that I continue to have to work on, from a rehab standpoint to a strength standpoint. That’s just the way it is, and maybe that’s just the way it’s going to be from here on out for me. I don’t know. I’m going to keep trying.”
Regardless of self-perceived strength and stamina, Manning is still making good use of his greatest asset: his brain.
“He sits there and holds the cadence until about seven seconds left on the clock,” Browns’ defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “I don’t know what he’s saying, if he’s changing the play or they already have one. He just runs his stuff. He’s the best at it.”
With Manning, the Broncos went from a 25th ranked scoring offense and a 31st ranked passing offense to 2nd and 6th, respectively.
As good as he can possibly be is Broncos’ Country talking about a long playoff run perhaps leading to a February appearance in New Orleans.
Certain things may be harder for Manning when working with trainers and weight coaches, but on the field, it looks like things are only getting easier for him.