Peyton Manning’s play fell off over the second half of the year. On Sunday, it fell off the cliff entirely. Manning did not throw any interceptions. He also didn’t make many plays. He finished 26 of 46 for 211 yards (4.59 yards per attempt). That’s the lowest yards per attempt production for Manning in a playoff game since the 41-0 loss at the Jets after the 2002 season. (4.42 yards per attempt).
It would have been the worst performance in terms of yards per attempt for, not just the playoffs, but his entire career, but for yards gained after the game was decided inside the final two minutes.
As it stands, it’s the sixth lowest yards per attempt in a game in which he threw at least ten passes, out of 277 such games. Two of them came during his rookie year, and another earlier this year in the loss at New England.
Earlier today I highlighted Manning’s popularity and iconic status. He’s Derek Jeter, but not boosted by being on the most legendary franchise in the sport, and with the team with the largest following.
We know he had some injuries, but does he think he can come back strong? Is he too proud to walk off the field like this, or too proud to continue if he can’t meet his lofty standards?
It will be one of the questions dominating this offseason, until Manning addresses him. He probably doesn’t know right now, either.
[images by Michael Shamburger]