After the Denver Broncos suffered their first loss with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback, many in Broncos Country have quickly suggested that Peyton Manning gives the team the best chance to win. Of course, as is the case for most sports fans, they tend to have a short term memory, so I am here to remind you exactly what "Manning giving the Denver Broncos their best chance to win" looks like.
In nine games for the Broncos this year, Peyton completed 65.3 percent of his passes, threw for 242 yards per game, 6.8 yards per attempt, with a 67.6 passer rating. Manning also threw one touchdown pass per 36 attempts and one interception per 19 attempts.
On the other hand, in five games this season, Osweiler has completed 63.5 percent of his passes, he has thrown for 228 YPG in the five games he's appeared in (248.5 YPG in four starts), 6.7 YPA with a 85.4 passer rating. Brock also threw one touchdown per 34 attempts and one interception per 57 attempts.
With Manning at quarterback, the Broncos run game managed 86 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry, which would be good for 30th and 26th in the league, respectively.
With Osweiler at quarterback, the run game put up 129.25 YPG and 4 YPC, which would be good for 6th and 15th in the league, respectively.
Looking deeper at the numbers, with Manning under center, the team scored 195 points — or 21.67 PPG. With Osweiler, the team has managed 89 points or 17.8 PPG. What both of these statistics fail to acknowledge are points scored and given up off of turnovers (not counting drives of 50 yards or more).
In Manning’s games, the defense directly scored or contributed to 44 points or 4.89 PPG, which would bring the points scored by the offense to 16.4 PPG. In the games with Osweiler under center, the defense has contributed 7 points or 1.4 PPG which would bring the offense's contribution to 16.4.
The production by the offense under Manning and Osweiler has been identical, but the difference in the team’s performance is twofold. During Manning’s nine games, the Denver defense contributed with timely defensive scores and takeaways, giving the offense a short field, something that has not been as consistent during Osweiler’s four games.
With Manning at quarterback, opposing teams scored 51 points off of turnovers, most of which came as a direct result of Manning interceptions. That is 5.67 PPG that the offense gave up. With Osweiler under center that number is 17 or 3.4 PPG. In a game of inches, that is a substantial difference.
A few more team stats to throw in. With Manning, the offense averaged 18.75 first downs per game and 345.5 YPG. Under Osweiler, the offense has averaged 20.75 first downs per game and 356.25 YPG.
The last factor I will mention is time of possession. In the eight starts where Manning played the entire game, the Broncos TOP averaged 30:06. In Osweiler’s four full games the TOP averaged 34:40. That is a 4:34 difference that may not seem like much but is huge when you consider that it is keeping the defense off the field.
Is all this to say that Peyton Manning is done and washed up? Not necessarily. But it shows that the Denver Broncos have played better as a team with Brock Osweiler under center.
What has to be considered is the fact that in only nine games this season, Manning still leads the league in interceptions, when most qualifying passers have played in 13 games so far.
What has to be considered is Peyton Manning is 39 years old and I often hear the argument that Manning at 100 percent is what the Broncos need, but Manning is almost 40. It is a legitimate question to ask if he will ever be 100 percent again.
This much I do know, Father Time remains undefeated and numbers never lie.
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