For the first time since college, Peyton Manning was in uniform while watching another quarterback run the offense. But thanks to five turnovers with Brock Osweiler under center, it didn’t last long.
Midway through the third quarter, Manning replaced Osweiler and received a standing ovation from the Denver crowd in the process. Trailing 13-7 when he entered the game, Manning immediately led the Broncos offense on an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to take the lead.
After missing the past six games with plantar fascia in his heel, Manning looked better than he has all year. While he only attempted nine passes, there was noticeably more zip on his throws and he looked much more mobile in the pocket. The running game flourished and the Broncos walked away with a much-needed 27-20 victory.
With the Broncos now in perfect position to make a deep playoff run, Manning quickly reminded everyone that he gives this franchise the best chance at their first Super Bowl since 1999. Osweiler may be the quarterback of the future, but the future Hall of Famer deserves one more chance at getting his second Lombardi Trophy.
The New England Patriots’ loss to the Miami Dolphins this week certainly helps the Broncos’ odds. With both squads finishing 12-4, the Broncos own the tiebreaker and now hold the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Home-field advantage for the Broncos is crucial, as it’s no secret how much worse Peyton’s playoff stats are when playing on the road.
At the end of the day, it’s a miracle there is even talk of Peyton competing in the playoffs. One week removed from denying HGH allegations, Manning’s career appeared to be winding down in the most horrific way imaginable. But all of a sudden, Peyton has an incredible opportunity to give his career the fairytale ending it so desperately deserves.
Only time will tell if he and the Denver Broncos can deliver.
Source: The Nation