- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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A weekly examination of the Denver Broncos' quarterback play.
Rewind: Those who know him say there is no question that Peyton Manning takes almost no joy in facing his younger brother, Eli, in a game and Sunday’s meeting was the third time it’s happened in the pair’s NFL careers. And in the end Peyton's effort was a no-frills, workmanlike affair as he finished 30-of-43 passing for 307 yards and two touchdowns. He called it "strange."
Fast-forward: Raiders coach Dennis Allen, a former Broncos defensive coordinator, has his defense tied for the league lead in sacks (nine) after two games. And while the late Al Davis was never a big fan of blitzing to get to opposing quarterbacks, half of the Raiders' sacks this season have come from defensive backs, so Manning figures to get pressure from all over the formation with backup left tackle Chris Clark set to start for the injured Ryan Clady.
Patience a virtue: The Giants were determined to take away the big play in the passing game and consistently dropped their linebackers deep and kept at least one safety well downfield -- the Giants had just six defenders in the box on Knowshon Moreno’s first touchdown run. So Manning took the short-and-sweet approach, with 18 of his completions in the game going for 10 or fewer yards. He had 11 completions of between 11 and 20 yards and just one -- a 36-yarder to Andre Caldwell on the Broncos’ first possession -- of more than 30 yards.
Prediction: Manning, with nine touchdowns in two games, has already proved he is willing to pick away at a defense if he has to, so Allen figures to be a little more aggressive, especially on Clark’s side of the formation. So the Broncos will pick up the pace on offense and test the Raiders' ability to get everybody in the right spot.
2dEric D. Williams
2dEric D. Williams