Peyton Manning: Broncos Defense Continues to Let Historic QB Down

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 10, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 7:   Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos watches from the sideline during the final moments of a loss 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 has been everything the Denver Broncos could have asked for coming off of three neck operations.

The only problem is, the Broncos defense has not been up to the task this season, and it's dragging the team down.

The Broncos have allowed 22.8 points per game this season, 19th in the NFL. They gave up 31 points to the New England Patriots in Week 5 while allowing second-year running back Stevan Ridley to gash them for 151 yards and a touchdown. 

Denver supposedly had an up-and-coming defense headed into this season, but the results haven't reflected that. Aside for All-Pro Von Miller, a collection of players have struggled, including the most noteworthy failures against the Patriots—linebacker Wesley Woodyard, defensive end Derek Wolfe and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. 

Note that each of those players represents an entirely different level of the defense. That's how disjointed Denver has been on that side of the ball.

Manning went 31-of-44 for 345 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots last week while the Broncos went 7-for-13 on third downs, but Denver lost because it allowed New England to chalk up a whopping 89 plays for a time of possession of 35:49.

That included allowing Tom Brady and Co. to go 11-for-17 on third downs.

It would have been nice if the Broncos' 37-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 4 actually meant something, but, the reality is, the Raiders are currently 1-3 and have averaged 16.8 points per game this season (29th in the NFL).

Think about this.

The Broncos have managed 14 sacks and 19 tackles for loss this season. Miller has accounted for five sacks and seven tackles for loss himself. On the few occasions that Ridley was stopped on Sunday, Miller was there practically every time.

Denver has averaged 27.0 points this season (ninth in the NFL). The passing game has averaged 7.6 yards per attempt (11th) while notching 11 touchdowns (tied for fourth).

Yet, the Broncos are currently 2-3.

All I can say is, good luck against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.

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