It’s Official: We May Actually Have Seen The Last Of Peyton Manning
I think we can all agree that no one wants to see Peyton Manning finish his illustrious, first-ballot Hall of Fame career by being benched in favor of Brock Osweiler. Unfortunately, the writing may be on the wall.
After delivering a stellar, mistake-free performance in the Denver Broncos' 17-15 win over the previously resurging Chicago Bears on Sunday, Osweiler just might have finally exposed Manning as the liability that no one wants to believe he is. In his first career start, Osweiler complete 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards, 2 touchdownss and 0 interceptions for a passer rating of 127.1. His performance is by far the best, most complete performance the Broncos have had at quarterback all year.
Even before Week 10's zero TD, four INT abomination, Manning had thrown just 9 TDs to 13 INTs on the season. His only game with a passer rating above 96.9 came in a Week 3 win over a very weak Detroit Lions team. Every week that went by, it became more painfully obvious that Manning's body is no longer physically capable of executing the commands of his brilliant football mind.
For his first three seasons with the Broncos, after missing an entire NFL season and undergoing massive neck surgery, Manning defied logic by seemingly playing better than he ever had before. That's why his early 2015 regular season struggles were so easily dismissed, even as he closes in on 40 years old. Manning was always able to overcome his physical limitations by being the smartest football player on the field, so you can hardly blame anyone for believing that he would once again pull a rabbit out of the hat.
Unfortunately though, it looks more and more likley that Manning's years of physical deterioration have finally reached a level that even the intelligence of one of football's greatest virtuosos can't compensate for anymore. Obviously Brock Osweiler is still a largely unproven commodity, and who knows if he will be able to continue to produce at the level that he did on Sunday against the Bears.
But as of right now, if Gary Kubiak and the Broncos organization decide to play the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win football games - rather than give in to nostalgia - then there is a strong possibility that Week 10 of the 2015 regular season was Peyton Manning's swansong.
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