After writing about how the Colts should be able to bounce back well after the offense having a sub-par performance against the Bengals I started thinking about Peyton’s performance specifically. He managed the game and played it safe and did just enough to get a win, but speaking strictly from a statistical standpoint, it was one of the worst games of his career – and my fantasy team felt the repercussions. He had 36 pass attempts, completing 20 of them (just 55.6%) for 185 yards, no touchdowns, and a 69.8 passer rating.
I got to wondering and found myself thinking about each stat “jeez, how often do you see Peyton complete less than 60% of his passes” or “jeez, how often do you see Peyton throw for less than 200 yards” and soon realized I was asking myself that about each statistical category. So naturally, I started to do some digging. I started looking for games that Peyton completed less than 60% of his passes and threw for less than 200 yards, no touchdowns, and a passer rating of less than 70.
Excluding two games that came at the end of a season in which he only attempted two passes, there have only been five other games (six including Sunday’s) during Peyton’s long career in which he met all of those criteria – or failed to meet the criteria, depending on how you want to think about it. We’ll take a look at those games after the jump.
So while Sunday’s game against Cincinnati is certainly the best of those bad games (because he at least didn’t throw a pick) it was still one of the worst games of his career statistically. I find it interesting that the Colts are 3-3 when Peyton has that poor of a game, it’s equally as interesting that the three losses were away games and the three wins were all home games. I think that speaks to how much better the defense plays at home. Though it could also have something to do with the fact that those three losses came during the only two years of Peyton’s career when the Colts failed to reach the playoffs.
Now let’s take a look at the five games that followed each of the above performances.
Those numbers don’t exactly make you jump out of your seat screaming “Wow! He sure does follow up those poor performances clearly looking like he has something to prove!” But we’ll excuse that first game because it was only the fourth game of his rookie season and the team really just wasn’t in sync until the next year. So if you take the averages from those other four games, you could project Peyton to complete 20 of 30 passes for 254 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and a 101.2 passer rating.
Though it should be noted that this year Peyton’s touchdown to interception ratio is 4:1, which if he stays on that pace would be his best ratio since his record setting 2004 season when it was nearly 5:1. With that in mind I think the potential to have 3 TDs and 1 INT is certainly a possibility, or 2 TDs and no INTs, and with as poor as the Patriot secondary has played this year 3 TDs and no INTs isn’t out of the question.
Peyton is also averaging right around 7 yards per attempts this year which means if he attempts 30 passes, but this year he’s averaging more like 43 attempts per game. So again, with the way New England’s secondary has played (sixth worst in the league in terms of opponent passer rating) this year, and the fact that they’re in the bottom half of the league in terms of generating sacks, I can see Peyton putting up 300 yards in this game.
Peyton knows that this year’s team is going to need home field advantage to win in the playoffs and that getting a win this weekend over the Patriots would be a huge step in the right direction for securing that top seed. Look for him to put the team on his back this week. While I’m sure he’s happy with a win no matter how the team has to get it, I think he much prefers it when he and the offense are carrying the team rather than the defense.