Friday, December 10, 2010
Peyton goes deep and succeeds in win
Peyton Manning entered Thursday night’s game against the Tennessee Titans on one of the worst stretches in his surefire NFL career.
He had thrown four interceptions in each of his last two games, and 11 over his last three. Those 11 picks are more than he had in any season from 2003-06. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the only active player to throw more than 10 picks over a three-game span. The last player to do it at all was Aaron Brooks in 2001.
Not strangely, his Indianapolis Colts lost all three of those games, dropping them to 6-6 on the season.
Thursday was a change of pace for Manning and the Colts. Their win moves them back over .500, with Manning going 25-35 for 319 yards and two touchdowns. And he didn’t throw any picks.
It was Manning’s 63rd career 300-yard passing game, tying Dan Marino for the NFL record. Manning also surpasses 4,000 passing yards for the 11th time in his illustrious career, five more times than any other player in NFL history.
Manning has now thrown for 26 touchdowns this season, his NFL-record 13th season with at least 25 touchdown passes. The only other player in NFL history with double digit seasons throwing 25 touchdowns is Brett Favre, who has done it 11 times.
The key to Manning’s success against the Titans was being able to throw the deep ball successfully. During Manning’s three-game slump, Manning completed 37.5 percent of his passes 15 or more yards downfield, with a 50.7 passer rating.
Thursday night, Manning completed all five passes he threw 15 or more yards downfield, with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, including a 19-yard strike to Pierre Garcon which gave the Colts a 21-0 lead late in the second quarter.
For the Titans, the news was mixed on their superstars. Chris Johnson was back in form against the Colts, who are now 29th in the NFL in rushing defense.
Johnson had 111 rushing yards and 68 more receiving with a touchdown. Over his previous two games, Johnson had just 74 total yards and failed to find the end zone.
Kenny Britt caught four balls in his first game back from injury, but Randy Moss was not targeted with a pass for just the second time in his career. The other time was in Week 7 of the 2004 season, his final season with the Minnesota Vikings. Daunte Culpepper didn’t look Moss’ way, but the Vikings still won 20-3 over Moss’ current team, the Titans.