(SportsNetwork.com) – Peyton Manning is revered by millions of NFL fans but
those same enthusiasts who worship at the altar of perhaps the greatest
quarterback in league history probably wouldn’t want to invite him to their
Believe it or not, part of Peyton’s greatness stems from the fact that he is
Eli’s big brother is all football, all the time and we saw evidence of that
yet again in his latest impressive performance, a three-touchdown effort
during the Broncos’ 35-21 drubbing of AFC West rival San Diego on Thursday
Manning, the reigning and five-time NFL MVP who broke Brett Favre’s record for
most career touchdown passes last Sunday against San Francisco, was back it
just four days later against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, completing 25-
of-35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD total
Emmanuel Sanders was Manning’s favorite target this week, snaring nine passes
for 120 yards and all three TDs for the 6-1 Broncos, who matched Dallas for
the NFL’s best record, pending the Cowboys Monday night matchup against
“Every week we don’t know where the ball is going to go,” Sanders admitted.
“The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was
just my night.”
Next week it may be back to Demaryius Thomas or Julius Thomas or Wes Welker or
anyone else suiting up at a skill position for Denver.
By this point the numbers Manning piles up on a weekly basis are almost mind-
numbing and quickly forgotten in an offensively-driven league where records
have to be written in pencil with the intent on erasing them sooner rather
Manning’s real greatness is only defined by those who truly watch him. He was
at the height of his skills early in the third quarter against the Chargers
with the ball at the San Diego 19-yard line, just inside the red zone.
Manning used one of his famous hard counts in an effort to either get the
Chargers D to jump offsides or declare its intention on the play. San Diego
showed enough discipline to avoid a penalty but foreshadowed an overload blitz
on Manning’s front side.
The veteran quarterback calmly checked to a quick pass to Ronnie Hillman in
the flat, on the opposite side of the oncoming pass rushers and the running
back beat a defender in space before waltzing into the end zone for what
looked like a 19-yard score.
Replays showed Hillman actually stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line and
the play ended up as a footnote to one of Sanders’ TD catches, in which the
ex-Steeler was the third progression on the play by the way.
Few quarterbacks in this era or any other for that matter can step to the line
of scrimmage, survey the defense and almost always get his team into the right
play. That ability, more than all the passing yards and TD passes, truly
And that skill isn’t about arm strength or athleticism, it’s about work ethic
Manning is all business all the time and you saw his mentality in the fourth
quarter when the video board operator in Denver morphed into party DJ,
imploring the crowd to have some fun during the Broncos’ latest blowout.
The Rockies’ version of Samantha Ronson flashed alternating images of Rivers
and Manning, causing the crowd to ping-pong between hearty boos and wild
Even Rivers was amused.
“I really don’t know how to respond to that,” the Chargers Pro-Bowl QB said.
“Other than if you had told me when I was 10 years old they would show me in
front of 75,000 and get booed, and Peyton Manning in the same clip and get
cheered, I’d say that’s pretty awesome.”
Manning had a different take.
“I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great. I’ve got a problem with
our scoreboard operator,” Manning opined. “I’m gonna have a little talk with
him. I’m not sure what he’s doing.
“He was playing music, showing people — showing players dancing, getting the
crowd fired up while we had the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I
don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought
that was kind of disrespectful. Our fans are great, our fans are loud, so the
scoreboard operators … it wasn’t his best night.”
And that more than anything else explains Peyton — when you’re celebrating
the win, he’s already thinking about the next one.