The Denver Broncos are sitting atop the AFC West at 2-0 and it’s still unclear if anyone is taking them seriously as a playoff contender; let alone a Super Bowl threat. Their first two games were against a Super Bowl contending team in the Baltimore Ravens and the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. Unlike most Peyton Manning victories, these games have been won on defense and Manning’s prolific offense has been nowhere to be seen; a troubling sign for any Broncos fan.
Last night, the Broncos beat the Chiefs in Kansas City 31-24 giving Manning his eighth straight victory over the division rivals. Manning had decent numbers throwing for 256 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick six while completing 57% of his passes. However, for the second week in a row, the Broncos offense looked slow and often lost; not something you typically see with Peyton Manning behind center. Manning had flashes of brilliance but just like last week, he was left to do it all behind a shaky offensive line and a nonexistent running game.
Manning has always been at his best when he’s been the on-field offensive coordinator. Now with a new coach [Gary Kubiak] and a new offensive scheme, Manning doesn’t have control over the offense as he once did. I can appreciate that Kubiak was the offensive coordinator back in the late 90’s for the Broncos, and helped Elway win his 2nd Super Bowl ring with the focus on running the football; but that’s clearly not working, at least right now. Kubiak needs to realize that until the offensive line gets stronger, his slow tempo running back-centric offense isn’t going to be successful. By limiting Manning’s presence in the offense, especially at the line of scrimmage, all he’s doing is making the offense less of threat and more of a liability. I know the Broncos defense has started out white hot, but there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way all season.
For the first time in Manning’s career he actually has a great defense, but it’s still uncertain whether he’ll be able to take advantage of it. There’s no denying that Manning looked great near the end of the game last night and helped his team win the game, but he still looks off. Manning’s statistics for his first two games [in order] are; 14-21, 124 yards, o TD’s & 1 INT (pick six) / 26-45, 256 yards, 3 TD’s 1 INT (pick six). Clearly his numbers have significantly improved from week one to week two, however when I watch him play, he just doesn’t look right. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket and his throws look forced and have barely any velocity to them. I’m not saying Manning needs to hang it up, but I think the end of the road is right around the corner.
The Denver Broncos are 2-0 to start their season. It’s a great start but it could be a very bumpy finish if they can’t get their offense in sync. It’d be a damn shame to see a Manning team struggle on offense especially since he finally has a defense to help him win games, and potentially a championship.