Nasty Peyton Manning is as scary as cold-weather Peyton Manning — and that means something now.
The Broncos quarterback, who has long been criticized for not being his usual superb self in wintry weather, demolished the Titans for 397 yards and four touchdowns on 39-of-59 passing in chilly conditions Sunday. The win bolstered Manning’s comments from earlier this week — as well as various arguments that any poor numbers he has in colder weather are more likely due to home/road splits and creative imaginations — and set Manning up to answer his critics once and for all.
The almost always diplomatic Manning took a good-natured jab when asked after Sunday’s game about the assumption that he plays poorly in bad weather.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning told Denver radio station 850 KOA.
In his postgame press conference, Manning pulled back a bit.
“I mean, I wasn’t trying to answer [the criticism], because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place,” he said. “We had a good plan, and … guys caught the ball well.”
Manning’s numbers in snowy and other inclement conditions aren’t otherworldly, but that’s mostly due to Manning playing much of his career in a dome, meaning the already-difficult road games (many of them in the playoffs) likely skewed his cold-weather sample. In Denver, he’s going to get more opportunities to show what he can do in poor weather, especially with the Broncos practicing in similar conditions leading up to games.
“He did a superb job,” coach John Fox said of Manning. “I think our team did a superb job of getting ready for those elements. … Thursday, Friday and Saturday were pretty frigid, and I thought it was great for us.”
The Broncos finish the regular season in fair-weather locales — San Diego, Houston and Oakland — but will likely face wintry conditions in the playoffs, whether in Denver or on the road.