He threw four interceptions versus just five completions in his 20 passing attempts and took two sacks against a dangerous Kansas City pass rush. As a result, head coach Gary Kubiak turned to Manning’s backup, Brock Osweiler, with the team trailing, 22-0. NFL on CBS passed along the image of the Arizona State product preparing to enter:
Raul Martinez of Fox 31 in Denver said, “According to reports, Peyton Manning was not benched for an injury. It was Gary Kubiak's decision to just take him out and try Brock Osweiler.”
After the 29-13 loss, Kubiak confirmed Manning would remain the starter, per Adam Kinney of BSNDenver, "if he's healthy and ready to go Peyton is our quarterback."
It was a quick downturn for Manning after he broke the NFL's all-time passing-yards record earlier in the game with a four-yard completion to running back Ronnie Hillman.
Still, the Tennessee product is 39 years old and well past his prime as one of the best ever, and he counts nine touchdown passes and 17 interceptions on the season. ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how his performance compares to his rookie campaign, which was the last time he threw more picks than touchdowns:
While the benching was certainly an unfortunate situation for one of the living legends in the game, former journeyman quarterback Sage Rosenfels offered some levity to the development:
It would be easy to bury Manning after his performance, but Evan Doherty of Yahoo Sports offered some perspective to the move:
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Perhaps Kubiak would not have turned to Osweiler in a closer game, especially since the quarterback only had 30 passing attempts in his career before Sunday. The Broncos drafted Osweiler in the second round in 2012 and is an unknown commodity, although he is 6’8” and threw for 4,036 yards and 26 scores in his final season at Arizona State.
The Broncos are still in first place in the AFC West, even with Sunday’s lackluster performance largely because of their defense that led the league in yards and points allowed per game coming into Week 10. Albert Breer of the NFL Network commented on the strength of the team in relation to a struggling Manning:
He appeared to be a shell of himself Sunday, but the Broncos are still 7-2 under the signal-caller this year through the first nine games.
The leash just may be a bit shorter the next time Manning struggles.