Breaking Down Peyton Manning's Comeback Season So Far

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IOctober 6, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The secondary he faced may have been that of the Oakland Raiders, but Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning certainly looked a lot like Peyton Manning in Week 4 of the 2012 season.

Manning threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, completing 30-of-38 passes in the process, as the Broncos drubbed the Raiders 37-6. 

Four games may be too small a sample size to consider Manning all the way back, but he's certainly on the comeback trail.

Here's a break down of Manning's comeback season so far.

Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (W 31-19)

Manning: 19/26 for 253 yards, two TDs, 0 INTs, 129.2 passer rating

Manning's first game in almost 18 months resulted in a promising performance. Manning threw his 400th career touchdown pass and completed a fourth-quarter comeback. He also took two sacks and bounced right back up from each. 

The Broncos held the ball for just 24 minutes—Pittsburgh dominated the football—but Manning still was able to find Demaryius Thomas for a 71-yard touchdown on a bubble screen and Jacob Tamme on a short score to put Denver up for good. 

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Week 2 at Atlanta Falcons (L 21-27)

Manning: 24/37 for 241 yards, one TD, 3 INTs, 58.5 passer rating

One quarter doomed both Manning's night and the Broncos' chances of winning the football game. Manning threw three first-quarter interceptions, all coming on a similar throw down the seam. 25 minutes into the first half, Denver trailed 20-0. 

The Broncos would make things interesting late, scoring three touchdowns over the final 15:06 of the game. But the deficit was too much for Manning to overcome, and the Broncos fell to 1-1. Never before had Mannnig thrown three interceptions in the first quarter.

Week 3 vs. Houston Texans (L 25-31)

Manning: 26/52 for 330 yards, two TDs, 0 INTs, 83.0 passer rating

Much like in Atlanta, Manning and the Broncos fell behind early and failed to erase the deficit late. Interceptions weren't the reason for an early Texans' lead, but Manning tacked on most of his stat-line after the Broncos were already down 31-11. 

The Broncos defense was a major reason for the loss, as Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns over 50 yards and four overall.

That said, Manning's 26 incompletions were a career high.

The 330 yards represented Manning's 64th 300-yard game of his NFL career. 

Week 4 vs. Oakland Raiders (W 37-6)

Manning: 30/38 for 338 yards, three TDs, 0 INTs, 130.0 passer rating

The best performance of Manning's season came against one of the NFL's worst secondaries. The Broncos scored a season-high 37 points and didn't punt. 

Manning's arm strength was a non-factor throughout the afternoon. He completed throws up the seam, on the run and on intermediate to deep parts of the field. It was a promising all-around showing after mostly average games in back-to-back weeks. 

Overall stats: 99/153 for 1,162 yards, eight TDs, three INTs, 96.9 passer rating

Predictably, Manning has been somewhat up-and-down to start the 2012 season. Considering he's coming off a number of neck surgeries and a team change, Manning has probably played above expectations. 

The best part for Denver? 

Manning is getting better, especially from a physical standpoint. The mental part of the game is always going to be there, but the physical side was still lagging behind. Now it's all starting to come together.

Manning and the Broncos offense have another telling test in Week 5 in New England. Another classic duel between Manning and Tom Brady could be on the way. 

Win or lose, however, Broncos fans should feel very confident in the progression Manning has made already during his comeback season in 2012. 


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