23 playoff games. 11-12 overall in the playoffs. Only one comeback win in those 23 games. 1-2 in Super Bowls.
Those are Peyton Manning’s career playoff numbers. They are what they are, and they unfortunately tell the story of Manning when the games matter the most.
Before I begin my dissection of Manning, credit has to be given to the winners of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks. With one of the best defensive performances we will ever see, the Seahawks were relentless as they swarmed the Broncos offense with quickness, intensity and blistering hits. The Legion of Boom dominated throughout the game and the Broncos offense didn’t stand a chance last night.
Manning completed 34-49 passes for 280 yards in the Broncos 43-8 loss to the Seahawks. The 34 completions are another record to add to his long list of accomplishments (Super Bowl record). The Broncos quarterback threw the only touchdown of the game for Denver, but threw two interceptions and looked rattled throughout the game because of the ferocious Seahawks defense.
Looking at Manning’s regular season, this loss takes nothing away from the conversation of Manning being the greatest regular season quarterback. Manning broke the regular season touchdown passing record with 54, and the regular season passing yards record with 5,477 yards. Coming off of the best regular season of his career, there are no signs of slowing down for the 37 year old quarterback.
So what does yesterday’s loss mean for Manning? The loss is not all on Manning as the Seahawks put up 43 points on the Broncos defense. He can’t control the defensive side of the ball for the Broncos, but he did not do enough on the offensive end to have a significant impact on the game. The hate will be as loud as it has ever been for Manning going forward. He is returning to the gridiron next year, but yesterday’s loss is a blow to his overall legacy.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 3, 2014
“We knew they had a good defense. We knew they were fast. It was still a matter of us doing our jobs better and we just didn’t do that,” Manning told ESPN in a post game interview. “We just made some mistakes. Seattle forced some of those mistakes, but we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be from an execution standpoint.”
When Manning was asked if this loss would give him more motivation to come back for the 2014 season: “I always wanted to come back all along, regardless of the outcome of this game. I know this team used last years playoff loss to fuel us and it made us a better team this year. Hopefully we can find a way to use this loss and fuel us for next season.”
Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met! I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
To sum things up, Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He was before the game and he still is after the disappointing Super Bowl game yesterday. He played below expectations against the tough Seahawks defense and at times looked void of confidence. The career playoff numbers are alarming, but you cannot debate his impact on the NFL at the quarterback position. Currently, we just can’t say Manning is the greatest quarterback of all time, and he may never be. But he is still in the conversation with Dan Marino, John Elway, Tom Brady, Johnny Unitas and Dan Marino and still has time to push for another ring.
When his career is all said and done, he will go down as one of the greatest to ever play quarterback. Without a doubt a first ballot hall of famer. But looking at last nights game alone, Manning’s legacy takes a hit. Manning and the Broncos offense simply looked outclassed and scared against the Seahawks intimidating defense. It will be a long offseason for Manning and we expect him to come back as motivated as ever next season.
-Patrick Hazel (@pattywack25)