The Denver Broncos quarterback had a chance to go from “best regular-season quarterback” to “best ever” and dropped the ball in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. And had it picked off — twice.
Things didn’t go well for Manning from the very beginning of Sunday night’s game at MetLife Stadium. Broncos center Manny Ramirez shotgun snapped as Manning was still trying to get fancy by changing his line call. The ball flew into the end zone for a safety. The Manning face made an appearance early — and often.
It’s hard not to look at Manning as the “goat” of the game, though the 43-8 loss really was a team failure. Still, it was on Manning to mount the comeback once the Broncos got down early, and he didn’t have it in him. The Seahawks’ defense was too stout. They were too physical, too fast, too good.
Manning broke the record for completions in a Super Bowl with 34, but he also was picked off twice. He threw for 280 yards and one touchdown, and he lost a fumble.
Manning’s legacy doesn’t change after this game. He won’t be viewed as anything more or less than he was before the Super Bowl. He’s still a top-five quarterback of all time, but he’s not the best. He’s 1-2 in the big game now, and this one was on him. He wasn’t good enough to beat the Seahawks’ top-ranked defense.
Manning’s offensive line didn’t do him any favors, nor did his receivers. His blockers couldn’t give him enough time, and his receivers couldn’t get open quickly enough. But the Broncos had the No. 1 offense in the NFL because of Manning. And he didn’t get it done Sunday.
It would have been tough for the Broncos to win even if Manning had the best game of his career. But they were blown out because he played poorly. Because of those two interceptions and three total turnovers.
To lose in his brother Eli Manning’s home stadium probably doesn’t make this one feel any better. Peyton Manning can do it all over again next season — if his body holds up, that is.
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