Manning’s Deep Arm is More Than Fine
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:51am
|KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 01: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)|
Before the Broncos’ bye week, I wrote about Manning’s struggles when throwing deep
. The conclusion I came to at the time was his arm strength was fine. I concluded that with proper protection Manning could place the ball accurately on passes that travel more than 25 yards. I also noted that the Broncos receivers needed to do a better job of catching contested passes downfield.
Yet after 150 yards passing in the Patriots game some came out and questioned Manning’s arm strength again. He had not quite looked the same after the team’s Week 9 bye.
The film backs up my original investigation. Let’s take a look at the numbers from the Week 13 game against the Chiefs to show that his deep arm strength is more than fine.
In Week 13, Manning completed 8-of-10 passes 15 or more yards downfield for 268 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Entering Sunday, Manning had been off-target (over or underthrown) on almost 60 percent of his deep attempts in the three games since Denver’s bye. He missed on only one of his 10 deep attempts against the Chiefs in Week 13.
Here’s how the numbers break down since the Broncos bye.
Peyton Manning Passing 15 or more Yards Downfield, Last Four Games:
Yards Per Attempt
Manning completed as many deep passes to Eric Decker (5-of-6, three touchdowns, one interception targeting Decker at least 15 yards downfield) as he had total deep completions in his previous three games combined.
Decker became the first player to catch three passes more than 30 yards downfield in a single game since Malcolm Floyd (Chargers) in Week 5 of 2010 against the Raiders.
Manning’s completion percentage on deep throws (80 percent) was his highest since the start of 2006 (statistics per ESPN Stats & Info) in a game with more than five deep attempts.
So the next time you’re talking about Manning’s deep arm strength make sure to keep this numbers in mind.
Manning has the arm to make most any throw in the NFL. As teams start to play umbrella coverage in an attempt to take away Wes Welker and the underneath routes, Manning will be able to strike deep.
Teams will now have to begin respecting the deep targets. This means safeties will have to stay a bit further away from the line of scrimmage to honor any long route. That creates larger holes for the ground game. It also helps open up routes underneath for guys like Welker or tight end Julius Thomas.
Manning’s deep arm is more than fine. His favorite receiver on the Broncos is the open guy. If defenses give him those deep looks, Manning will take his shots downfield.
It’s all good for the Broncos offense as we enter the final quarter of the regular season. They have an energized ground game with Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. They have Manning on a record pace this season, and they have the league’s best trio of wide receivers. Throw in an elite-level tight end like Julius Thomas, and you have the makings of the most dangerous offense in the league.