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Peyton Manning Struggles, Looks Limp in Broncos Win


The Denver Broncos will gladly take their week 1 win against the thorn-in-the-side Baltimore Ravens, but with the victory came a concerning effort from veteran quarterback Peyton Manning.

Manning struggled on several fronts in the 19-13 win, which was characterised by defensive dominance and anaemic offense from both teams. Under new head coach Gary Kubiak, Manning and his offensive unit could never develop a rhythm, racking up false start and delay-of-game penalties galore in what looks to be a steep learning curve for Denver this season.

But it was Manning’s actual play that might have more than a few Bronco fans worried. The future Hall of Famer went 24/40 for just 175 yards, amounting to a paltry 4.4 yards per attempt.

Stats aside, even the most routine throws looked unconvincing from a man who has maintained his peak for so long. Simple out routs, hitch routs and throws to the flat looked wobbly at best. Many of his short throws floated their way to the receiver, desperately lacking the zip needed to get the catcher in open space.

As the game dragged on, Manning didn’t even look like completing a pass beyond ten yards. Even with time in the pocket, short and mid-length attempts fell to the receiver’s feet. It has been known for some time that his arm strength has been deteriorating, so if he can’t keep relying on his potent accuracy either, Manning’s bag of tricks could be quickly depleting before our eyes.

Even Jimmy Smith’s pick-six – which was initially tipped by a Denver wideout – wouldn’t have occurred if the throw had the placement many have come to expect from the four-time MVP.

Perhaps this theory remains unfounded after only one game, but this NFL fan has had a hunch all offseason that Manning still hasn’t fully recovered from the niggling injuries he pushed through during last year’s playoffs, and that they, along with Father Time, would force Manning into a huge regression this year.

It just feels like those tiny cracks in his game are starting to split open a little more with each passing week. It will be interesting to see how he fares in week 2 against the Chiefs on only 4 days rest.

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