NFL’s old-guard QBs still setting pace

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were all winners and record-breakers on Sunday. Three of the oldest starting quarterbacks in the NFL still have it.

The NFL’s geriatric quarterback club not only has a heartbeat, it might still be the heart of the position.

Don’t count out the old quarterbacks just yet, despite talk that Tom Brady is on the decline. It didn’t show on Sunday for him or some of the other 30-something quarterbacks still making plenty of noise around the NFL.

Consider the accomplishments of the old guard on Sunday:

  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning passed for a career-high 479 yards and four touchdowns in knocking off the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Manning’s four touchdowns gave him 503 for his illustrious career and put him in quick striking distance of Brett Favre’s record 508 touchdowns passing. The way Manning was going on Sunday, he might even reach it in the Broncos’ next game.

    Favre and Manning are the only quarterbacks to have 500 touchdowns passing, and Manning did in a much shorter timeframe than the Ol’ Gunslinger. Favre needed 293 games to reach 500 touchdowns; Manning just 244.

    A comparison chart of the two shows how Manning has stayed effective in the latter stages of his career to blow Favre’s record out of the water. Favre needed 107 games to reach 200 touchdowns and Manning 106. Favre needed 228 to reach 400, Manning 209. But in the last 100, Manning really started to separate himself, reaching 500 TDs in 49 fewer games and 1,351 fewer pass attempts than Favre.

    On Sunday, Manning also tied Dan Marino’s NFL record with his 13th game with 400 or more passing yards, and Manning’s 479 yards against the Cardinals was also the second-highest total against an undefeated team with at least three wins, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

  • NFL analysts were starting to prep the swansong oratories for Tom Brady and the dynasty of the New England Patriots. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friends.”

    Patriots Bill Belichick repeated a brief mantra last week when asked about the perceived (real or imagined) dropoff with Brady and the talent surrounding him. “We’re on to Cincinnati,” Belichick repeated in a press conference last week.

    A slight change in sentence structure would indicate that Brady and the Patriots were “onto” Cincinnati, as in they knew how to take it to the Bengals. The future Hall of Fame quarterback dismantled Cincinnati for 292 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-17 shellacking of the Bengals on Sunday Night Football.

    Brady also became the sixth player in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards. In 15 seasons, he has 50,232 yards. Ahead of him in career passing yards are Favre (71,838), Manning (66,257), Dan Marino (61,361), Drew Brees (52,655) and John Elway (51,475).

  • Speaking of Brees, 40,307 of his passing yards have been accumulated since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2006. He is only the seventh quarterback in NFL history with 40,000 passing yards with one franchise and became the fastest to hit that mark – doing it in 132 games, surpassing Marino’s mark of 153 games with the Miami Dolphins.

    It took Manning 154 games to get 40,000 passing yards with the Indianapolis Colts, Brady 162 with the Patriots, Favre 164 with the Packers, Dan Fouts 168 with the San Diego Chargers and Elway 183 with the Denver Broncos.

    Say what you want about NFL players reaching the end of their peak performing years once they are in their 30s, but the old guard – Manning at 38, Brady at 37 and Brees at 35 – is still slinging it with the best of them in the NFL these days.

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