As long as the Denver Broncos remain vulnerable on defense, quarterback Peyton Manning will continue to be in attack mode on offense.
John Fox’s team ran its record to 11-2 on Sunday courtesy of a 51-28 victory over the visiting Tennessee Titans. Manning and his team trailed Tennessee, 21-10, in the second quarter before outscoring their guests a combined 41-7 the rest of the afternoon.
While Manning wasn’t super sharp (he did have 20 incompletions), he connected on 39 of 59 attempts for 397 yards and four touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked, didn’t fumble and didn’t throw an interception. All told, Fox’s club ran a total of 91 offensive plays.
Manning has now thrown five times as many touchdown passes (45) as interceptions (nine) this season. He’s 478 yards short of 5,000 yards passing in 2013. The Broncos have already scored 515 points, an average of 39.6 per contest.
Meanwhile, Denver has already given up 345 points (56 more than last season), an average of 26.5 per outing. Which means Manning and Co. will just keep on pitching.
And as for the best of the rest, let’s not ignore some other great performances…
2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Less than a week after being humbled by the Seattle Seahawks in the Pacific Northwest, Brees gave the Carolina Panthers defense a dose of reality on Sunday night at the Superdome. The Saints quarterback has thrown 33 touchdown passes and has been picked off just eight times. It’s somewhat forgotten that Brees tied for the NFL lead with 19 interceptions in 2012.
3. RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
With second-year quarterback Nick Foles having a solid season, McCoy has taken somewhat of a backseat when it comes to attention. Emphasis on somewhat: The versatile runner piled up a team-record 217 yards rushing and two touchdowns on Sunday versus the Detroit Lions.
“As a back, you’re so grateful and thankful for a guy to play so well because it makes the team so balanced,” said McCoy in regards to Foles via David Steele of SportingNews.com. “It’s not a problem with me if I don’t get the ball as much because No. 9 is putting it down, and vice versa if I get a chance to do my thing. It makes the offense a lot more balanced.”
McCoy leads the NFL with 1,744 yards from scrimmage. More importantly, the Eagles lead the NFC East by one game with three games to play.
4. QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Where would this team be without its determined signal-caller? Brady helped rescue the Patriots on Sunday against the upset-minded Cleveland Browns. The Patriots have allowed 24 or more points in five straight games and yet the team is 4-1 over that stretch. And Brady will have to be even more productive down the stretch minus star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
5. QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
While it still appears to be a long shot for the Chargers to reach the playoffs, Rivers and his team refuse to go down without a fight. While many have asked why he’s not the front-runner for Comeback Player of the Year, he would certainly qualify for bounce-back player of 2013. After committing a combined 47 turnovers the previous two seasons, Rivers has coughed up the ball only 10 times in 13 games this year. He’s also completing 70.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for 26 scores in 2013.
In The Discussion
6. WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
7. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
8. RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
9. QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
10. RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings