Over the final weeks of the regular season, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning dealt with a thigh injury and mounting questions about why the team’s passing game wasn’t as prolific as it had been earlier in the year.
Manning threw 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions over the final seven weeks of the season, a period that also saw his effectiveness in the red zone drop dramatically from where he was in September and October. On Wednesday, coach John Fox again said he didn’t see any change in Manning’s play while Manning said he felt fine and said the Broncos have focused on their running game of late in hopes of developing ideal offensive balance.
“I feel pretty good physically. Like all players, I’ve battled through some injuries. I think the bye week came at a good time for us, gave some guys a chance to get healthy,” Manning said, via ESPN.com. “We’ve tried to find different ways to win football games, and hopefully that prepares us well when we get into these playoff games and anything can go on … You never know what it’s going to be, and [I] think we’ve proven we can win games different ways. Hopefully that serves us well potentially on Sunday.”
The Broncos threw 194 passes in the final six games of the regular season while running the ball 186 times, so they’ve done much more than just pay lip service to creating offensive balance. More of the same won’t do anything to stop questions about changes to Manning’s game, but those questions will be a lot easier to parry if the balanced effort leads to another trip to the AFC championship game.