8. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after his loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Stats: 26-46, 211 yards, 1 TD
If Sunday’s game ends up being Peyton Manning’s last, he did not go out with a bang, to say the least. C.J. Anderson couldn’t bail out the first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, even at home.
Although Manning’s stat line is uninspiring, it tells only half the story.
There was no zip on his passes down the field. When he did get enough juice on a downfield throw, he missed or overthrew his intended receiver. Manning didn’t even trust himself to throw beyond the stakes to convert a fourth-and-manageable with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. Instead, he hit Anderson on a fake pick play that resulted in a turnover on downs.
With an offense featuring elite weapons such as Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas playing against a defense that has been nothing short of horrific at times this season, Manning had no excuse to play how he did.
I can only hope that Manning comes back stronger next year, if he comes back at all.
Next: Joe Flacco