Peyton Manning is the NFL’s best player halfway into the 2010 season.
He’s better than Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. Better than Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. Better than Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons. Better than Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers.
He has led the Colts to a 5-2 record this season, good for first place in the AFC South. They’ve only played one team with a record under .500. In the second game of the season, they thrashed the New York Giants, 38-14, a team many now consider to be the best in the NFC.
Manning is near the top of the NFL in every statistical category. He is second in touchdown passes (15) and passer rating (101.4), third in completions (197), fourth in completion percentage (65.9%), pass attempts (299), passing yards (2184), and adjusted yards per pass attempt (8.01).
And he has thrown just two interceptions in seven games. His 0.7 interception percentage is the second best mark in the history of the NFL, trailing only the fluke performance of Chiefs’ quarterback Damon Huard in 2006.
Manning never missed a beat after losing the NFL’s best tight end, Dallas Clark, for the season. Against the Houston Texans last week, he completed six of nine passes to tight end Jacob Tamme, for 64 yards and a touchdown.
He is most productive when throwing to wide receiver Austin Collie. This season, he has completed 44 of 54 passes to Collie, for 503 yards and six touchdowns. With all due respect to Austin Collie, I don’t think he would have more than 350 yards and three touchdowns on another team.
In the Colts’ two losses this season, Manning has combined for 785 passing yards, five touchdowns, and an interception.
He is literally irreplaceable to the Indianapolis Colts. Without him, the Colts would be 2-5 or 3-4 this season.
He is on pace to collect his fifth Most Valuable Player award this season, and third in a row.