After dropping into an early 21-7 hole to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, there were likely many people who felt that the Denver Broncos had all but lost the game. During the opening two quarters, Denver looked stagnant on offense and helpless on defense, looking down and out in both the game and in the race for the AFC West Division crown.
But just as he has done all season, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning picked up the Broncos when they needed it, throwing four consecutive touchdowns before the Chiefs were able to get on the board once again late in the fourth quarter. After adjusting to the Chiefs’ attempts to get into the backfield on defense, he didn’t look rattled, easily sidestepping numerous defenders throughout the game and getting off passes with stunning quickness.
He was able to eye multiple rushes before the snap, calling a multitude of audibles and showing just why he is both the Broncos’ most valuable player and will win the 2013 NFL MVP.
For the entirety of the night, he finished with 22-of-35 passing for 403 yards, five touchdowns, two interceptions and am 118.2 passer rating. This statistical output vindicated what the eye was telling the viewer and continued to build upon the foundation that he has laid as the Broncos have jumped out to a 10-2 record, which ranks tops in the AFC.
Throughout the season, Manning has been the guiding force for the Broncos as they have scored the most points and passing yards per game of any team in the NFL at 38.7 points per game and 344.6 yards per game. During the 2013 season, Manning has combined to throw 41 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 4,125 passing yards and a 68.1 completion percentage.
This contribution has been remarkably consistent as he has thrown at least 34 passes in each of the Broncos’ 12 games and two touchdowns or more in every game except for one.
All of this has come despite the team’s defense ranking 26th in the NFL in points allowed, and has exemplified the fact that the quarterback is an absolute force beyond his stats. Not only has he overcome a porous defense, but he has done it while seemingly being an on-field coach at the line for the Broncos, changing up plays and packages to score with ease against nearly every defense he has faced.
With four winnable games left against the Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders, it appears extremely likely that Manning will continue to pad his statistical output while guiding the Broncos to the top of the AFC. As a result of this, he will likely end up passing Tom Brady‘s single-season touchdown record of 50 and will win the fifth NFL MVP of his career.