Peyton Manning: Broncos QB Returning to Form Despite Team Struggles

Steven GerwelContributor IIIOctober 7, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 7:   Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos reacts after his team fumbled in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Peyton Manning was one of the biggest question marks entering the season, and he's still trying to re-establish himself as an elite quarterback. 

Manning entered the season with 399 career touchdown passes and 54,828 passing yards, making him arguably the best regular-season quarterback the NFL has ever known. 

No matter which team you root for (unless it's an AFC South team), surely you were amazed by watching Manning light up the scoreboard during his 13 seasons in Indianapolis. It was pure entertainment. 

When Manning sat out the 2011 season, it felt like the NFL was missing something. It didn't feel right. 

And as a result, many are hoping that Manning will find his groove in Denver and become the Manning we all know and admire. 

He isn't quite there yet, but it's clear that he can still play. 


Manning Carries the Broncos

Many of our questions were initially answered during Denver's season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Manning completed 73.1 percent of his passes and threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns in an encouraging 31-19 victory over the Steelers. 

As soon as that happened, many thought Manning was back for good, but a discouraging loss to Atlanta the following week raised some doubts. 

In that game, Manning had 241 yards and three interceptions as the Broncos were smacked around in a 27-21 loss to the Falcons. 

As a team, the Broncos have been disappointing as the supposed AFC West favorites entering the season. 

They have a 2-3 record and the defense that carried them through the 2011 season has not had the same influence. They have given up 22.8 points per game and have surrendered more than 25 points on three occasions. 

But regardless of who deserves the blame, we can rest assured that No. 18 is not part of the problem. 

In each of his last two games, Manning has thrown for three touchdowns and over 300 yards. He's exceeded 240 yards in each game and hasn't had a single interception outside of the Atlanta debacle. 

Manning has been performing up to expectations, but for whatever reason the team is not finishing games and taking home wins. 

Chemistry is likely an issue, and that will get better as the season progresses. 

But for now, regardless of his under-performing team, Manning has been getting it done.