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Monday, November 29, 2010
Manning struggles throwing the ball deep


Peyton Manning
Manning
The San Diego Chargers picked off Peyton Manning four times in their win over the Colts in Indianapolis. Manning threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns in the same game for only the third time in his career. The 22-point loss is the worst home loss in Manning’s career. The Chargers’ pattern of late season success continues as they have now won four straight after starting the season 2-5. Since 2006, they are now 34-5 in regular season games after November 1.

On Sunday, Manning struggled on throws of more than 10 yards. On throws inside that distance, Manning completed 28 of 33, finishing with a passer rating of 101.9. But beyond 10 yards, Manning had as many completions as he did interceptions and finished with a 5.8 passer rating.

It's actually a continued theme for Manning this season. Entering Sunday, Manning had just a 73.3 passer rating on throws of more than 10 yards, only 22nd-best in the league (minimum 50 attempts). That put him behind quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Hill, among others.

Manning could not solve the Chargers' defense, especially from his standard formations of three or more wide receivers. Before Sunday, Manning had attempted 83 percent of his passes in three- or four-receiver sets.

The Chargers intercepted Manning four times in three-plus receiver sets, which matched his season total entering the game from those formations. Entering Sunday, San Diego had only two interceptions when facing three or more receivers, and returned just as many for touchdowns against the Colts.

And one other thing that plagued the Colts passing game was an unusual performance from All-Pro wideout Reggie Wayne. After entering with just four drops in 10 games this season, Wayne dropped three passes on Sunday night. With seven drops this season, he's already matched his combined drop total from 2008 and 2009.