Peyton Manning has been getting better each week. The cohesion between Manning and his offense has improved every week. The scary part? Manning is STILL getting better.
In a display of aerial mastery unseen since, well, the last time he did it, Peyton Manning ripped the Saints defense apart for 305 yards and three touchdowns. By doing so, the Broncos laid a good beating upon the now (2-5) Saints.
Broncos wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker have moved closer to the playing style of Manning's receivers back in Indianapolis. I refer, of course, to Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. No, Thomas and Decker are not as great, but they're synchronization with Manning was last night.
Denver runner Willis McGahee contributed 122 yards on 23 carries, giving Denver its most solid rushing game of the year. And when a quarterback like Manning has a strong runner to take some heat off of him, watch out.
Five Things We Learned After Last Night's Game:
1) Patience Pays Off
Of course, Peyton Manning has never been in danger of being benched this season. However, by not panicking and staying on course with the offensive game plan, Manning and his receivers have gelled and their timing has been worked out. The Broncos have a 34-14 win to show for it.
2) Champ Bailey Is Denver's "Defensive Manning"
Here's a corner back who has been in the National Football League nearly as long as Manning. He has played with a lot of different defensive schemes, several coaches, and even two teams (he started out with the Redskins). Three weeks ago, amidst a "mini-slump" by the Broncos, Bailey stood right up and commanded the team to "play up to Manning's talents". Yesterday, they finally did.
3) Saints Coach Joe Vitt Is A Wet Blanket
Prior to the game, a lot was being said regarding Vitt's return to the sideline following his suspension. Here was a chance, a golden opportunity to pump up the team, put some fire in their bellies, make them just tear ass all over the field and give more effort than ever. How does Vitt respond? From NewOrleansSaints.com:
"[The hype about] me coming back, which was ridiculous. There’s nothing that I can do to put pixie dust on this team to make it play better, to make it play more emotional and there’s probably more hype than substance on my part."
Whoa. If that's not inspirational, I just don't know what is.
4) Denver's Wesley Woodyard Has Arrived
If you had never heard of Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard before this game, that's okay. He made his presence known with nine tackles, one sack, an interception and one forced fumble. All he missed was blocking a punt in this game. Not that he didn't try, I'm sure.
5) Drew Brees Needs To Be A Better Leader
He has all the talent in the world. He puts up big numbers and throws the ball better than just about anyone. However, he lacked the competitive fire you like to see from a "team leader". Your receivers are having trouble with drops? Get in their face and talk to them, good or bad. But do something, Brees. Your season is about to become meaningless, because 2-5 is near-impossible to recover from. Plus Atlanta's five games up on the Saints, which likely means no division title.
In the post game presser, Brees was about as non-committal as can be. Easy for a $100 million man, I suppose.