In his Week 4 matchup with the Oakland Raiders, Manning had his best performance of the season, completing 30 of 38 pass attempts for 338 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
This is the type of clinical and efficient outing NFL fans had come to expect from the future Hall of Famer before he missed the 2011 season with a neck injury. His year away from football cast doubt over his ability to return at an elite level, but through the first four weeks of the NFL season, Manning has proved he is still one of the league’s premier passers.
Manning’s debut in a Denver uniform came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he led the Broncos to a 30-19 victory by completing 73.1 percent of his 26 passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
In his next two outings, he was significantly less impressive. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons and only managed to complete 50 percent of his passes against the Houston Texans.
These were two extremely difficult matchups against two of the best teams in football, and Manning has not had time to get entirely comfortable with his receivers. As he gets more familiar with the Denver offense and his personnel, his numbers will continue to improve.
The game against Oakland could not have been more ideal for Manning and the Broncos. The Raiders' soft secondary provided an excellent matchup for the Denver passing attack, and the team executed flawlessly.
This will give the offense a significant amount of confidence moving forward as they continue to get more comfortable with one another. As this happens, Manning will put up more stat lines similar to the one he just recorded against the Raiders.
Manning’s ability to read defenses and call the correct audibles at the line of scrimmage will allow him to be successful, even if his arm strength has slightly deteriorated. His receivers have shown the ability to keep up with the constant adjustments, and they will continue to become more in tune with the way Denver orchestrates the offense.
The Broncos offense will get better as the season goes on, and when it is over, Manning will have reestablished himself as one of the best quarterbacks in his conference.