It's official. Peyton Manning isn't human.
At halftime against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, I'll admit I was starting to think otherwise. Thanks to one of the best run defenses in the league and an underrated pass D (12th in the NFL in yards per pass allowed), Ron Burgandy's home squad was giving Manning and the Broncos fits.
Willis McGahee couldn't get anything going on the ground, Manning threw a pick and looked of sync with his receivers and the Chargers led 24-0.
Then, this happened (via SportsCenter's Twitter account):
Peyton Manning and Broncos complete 2nd largest halftime comeback in Super Bowl era.4th team ever to overcome a 24+ pt deficit at half.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 16, 2012
Oh, and it was on the road, too.
Yup, Manning, who struggled immensely through the first 30 minutes of Monday night, finished with 309 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception. He completed 80 percent of his passes for 10.3 yards per pass.
Seriously. If Peyton Manning was half cyborg, I wouldn't be surprised at this point. If he was full cyborg, I would just nod my head in approval.
This guy was supposed to be recovering from a major neck injury. So major, in fact, that, at times, there were concerns that he would never play again. So major, that the expectations surrounding the new Bronco were middling at best.
He wasn't supposed to have a career year.
OK, Manning might not surpass his ridiculous 2004 numbers, but through six games, he's currently at 68 percent passing, 1,808 yards (301.3 per game), 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. If you take out his one bad first quarter against the Falcons in Week 2, he would have just one interception.
Even with the bad quarter, he is on pace for 4,820 yards (would be a career high), 37 touchdowns (would be second most in his career) and 11 interceptions (would be second least in his career).
I guess that's decent for the future Hall of Famer's 14th NFL season.
Moreover, Manning's second-half comeback on Monday night proved that he's still got it. He isn't just benefiting from a pass-happy offense (although he's doing a little bit of that, too). He can still overcome an ugly half. He can still overcome a lack of a running game. He can still perform at an elite level whilst under pressure on the road.
He's still a damn good quarterback.
Because even after a year off, there's no rust on this robot. And with the exception of maybe Will Smith, no one is going to slow him down off this incredible early pace.
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