Peyton Manning is the NFL’s all-time record holder in passing touchdowns, with 530. He’s the all-time record holder for most passing touchdowns in a season, with 55. And he owns a share of the all-tie record for most passing touchdowns in a game, with seven.
And now Manning is having a hell of a time getting to the end zone.
On Sunday, Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass, continuing a trend that began late last season. Sunday’s game was the third time in Manning’s last five regular-season games that he failed to throw a touchdown pass. Prior to that, he had thrown at least one touchdown pass in 51 consecutive regular-season games.
Manning averaged 3.4 touchdown passes a game during his record-breaking 2013 season. In 2014 he got off to a strong start, but his production declined as the season wore on, and in the last five games of the season (counting the playoff loss to the Colts), Manning threw a total of just four touchdown passes.
Now Manning has started the 2015 season looking like a man who (as Florio put it on the radio) has an expiration date that reads “best when used by December 2014.” Manning has always been one of the NFL’s smartest players, and with Denver’s good defense it’s possible that Manning can serve as an effective game manager and help get the Broncos back to the playoffs. But at the age of 39, it’s clear that Manning isn’t the same player he once was. His days of breaking touchdown records are over.