Peyton Manning Passing Game: By the Numbers

Justin Edmonds

We know that the Broncos offense and more specifically the passing game is off to a start of historic proportions. Let's break it down a bit more shall we?

Peyton Manning

  • Peyton has had 126 drop backs so far. Out of those he's been sacked 4 times, and completed 89 passes (73%).
  • He's had 91 drop backs without facing a blitz. Without a blitz he's been sacked 4 times and completed 65-87 passes (74.7%) for 793 yards (9.1 AVG) with 7 TD passes.
  • When Peyton has been blitzed (35 times), he's completed 24-35 passes (68.6%) for 352 yards (10.1 AVG) with 5 TD passes.
  • When under pressure, Peyton has gone 14-22 (63.6%) for 248 yards (11.3 AVG) and 1 TD pass.
  • So far Broncos receivers have dropped 13 passes.

The key is to get pressure with the front four. Peyton has eaten blitzes alive. He is able to identify the blitz, vacated area, hot route, switch protections, and get the ball out fast. Teams such as Kansas City who can pressure from the edge and now from the middle with Dontari Poe will pose issues for our offense because they don't need to blitz in order to get pressure.

Directional Passing







Behind LOS

2-2, 11 YDS, 0/0

7-9, 45 YDS, 0/0


9-11(81.8%), 56 YDS, 0/0


0-9 Yards

17-21, 205 YDS, 3/0

29-36, 291 YDS, 2/0

9-9, 65 YDS, 1/0

55-66 (83.3%), 561 YDS, 6/0


10-19 Yards

9-11, 137 YDS, 1/0

9-16, 162 YDS, 2/0

1-6, 61 YDS, 0/0

19-33 (57.6%), 360 YDS, 3/0



3-6, 86 YDS, 1/0

2-2, 56 YDS, 1/0

1-4, 26 YDS, 1/0

6-12 (50.0%), 168 YDS 3/0









31-40 (77.8%)

439 YDS (10.9), 5/0

47-63 (74.6%)

554 YDS (8.8), 5/0

11-19 (57.9%)

152 YDS, 2/0

89-122 (73%), 1145 YDS



  • 63% of all Manning passes have come within the first 10 yards of the LOS.
  • Most of his success has been working the left and middle of the field where he has posed 993 yards and 10 TD's.
  • For whatever reason, the right side of the field has been his kryptonite as all his numbers to that side of the field drop drastically.

The Receivers

Now, I'm only going to analyze his top 4 targets (apologies to the backs and Andre Caldwell). You know Peyton is the best QB of all time at spreading the ball around right? Well check this out:








D. Thomas







E. Decker







W. Welker







J. Thomas







  • Completely astounding that each WR has each been targeted about the same (within one of each other). Completely astounding that each WR has caught about the same number of balls (within one of each other).
  • Julius Thomas and Wes Welker have been the Red Zone beasts catching most of their TD's in that area of the field.
  • There is a real possibility that we could see Thomas, Decker, and Welker eclipse 100 catches and 1000 yards in the same season. I don't think that has ever happened in history.
  • Manning shows no favoritism and each receiver will be utilized based upon the opposing defenses. I don't know if I've ever seen WR1-WR3 ever match each other in targets and receptions.

The Sweet Spot

Demaryius Thomas
  • The Left side of the field has been a boon for DT has he's been targeted 9 times, caught 8 balls for 173 yards and a TD. He's also excelled in the 0-9 yard range in the middle of the field with 11 targets for 8 catches and 83 yards. No deep middle targets for him yet.
Eric Decker
  • The middle of the field from the 0-20 yard depths have yielded 11 receptions off of 14 targets to go along with 127 yards and 1 TD. Also nothing deep in the middle for Decker.
Wes Welker
  • At all depths, Wes Welker has excelled in the middle of the field. He's been targeted 16 times and has hauled in 13 catches for 145 yards and 2 TD's.
Julius Thomas
  • The left side of the formation from 0-20 yards has been the most productive for Julius as he's snagged 7 catches on 8 targets for 54 yards and 2 TD's. In fact, he's 9/10 from the short area of the field to all directions for 78 yards and a TD. The intermediate middle (10-19 yards) has been terrible with only one catch on 5 targets.

Overall we can see that the Manning passing game is in a lot of ways an extension of the running game. Lots of short routes designed to gain positive yardage, get the ball out quickly, and give receivers ample opportunity for yards after the catch.

10% of Manning's passes to this point have gone beyond 20 yards or more.

In comparison, 14% (18/127) of Drew Brees' passes have gone beyond 20 yards, 13% (16/122) of Aaron Rodgers passes have gone beyond 20 yards, and 9% (11/122) of Tom Brady's passes have gone beyond 20 yards thus far. Drew has pushed the ball downfield further than the other quarterbacks listed here, but it isn't like anybody is slinging the rock downfield on a consistent basis folks so don't let people try and scare you with these stats by saying "Peyton can't throw blah blah blah". It isn't truthful by any means.

Go Broncos!!!

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