The New England Patriots overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to stun the Denver Broncos in Foxboro, 34-31, on Sunday night, leaving Peyton Manning on the losing end of another road game in freezing temperatures.
Since 2001, Manning is just 2-5 – including 0-3 in the postseason – when the game-time temperature is 32 degrees or lower. Tom Brady, by comparison, is 23-5. Manning has just six touchdowns in those seven games – not to mention 10 interceptions – while Brady has 48 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.
Over the last 10 seasons, Manning has the second-worst winning percentage among quarterbacks in games played in freezing temperatures. The only player he’s ahead of? Michael Vick.
Thus, the question must be asked: If you’re Denver, what do you do with Manning in cold-weather games?
“I would consider that a high-class problem to have; give me Peyton Manning any day I’m a general manager,” former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum prefaced on The Morning Show. “I thought Cris Collinsworth actually made a good point about that. A lot of those games were on the road, and as we know, winning road games are hard. And certainly last night it was a factor, but it was a factor for both teams. (The Broncos) had their opportunities to win. That’s going to be another loss on him in the cold on the road, but obviously there were a lot of plays in the game that he had no impact on.”
Denver raced out to a 24-0 lead, thanks in large part to three New England turnovers in the first quarter. The Patriots, however, scored 31 unanswered points from the 11:21 mark of the third quarter to the 7:37 mark of the fourth quarter before Manning led a game-tying touchdown drive with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
Yet, a botched special teams play cost Denver the win in overtime.
Manning had far and away his worst game of the season – 19-of-36 for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interceptions.
Of course, Manning was a bystander for much of the game, as Knowshon Moreno carried 37 times for 224 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Broncos carried 48 times for 280 yards, and most of Manning’s attempts came in the fourth quarter and overtime in obvious passing situations.
“I’m sure Tom Brady will be the first one to tell you today that if he had somebody that was going to rush for 200 yards, they would have taken that as well,” Tannenbaum said. “New England really never stopped it. And when Denver crossed the 50 in that first possession of overtime, I’m sure the columns were already being written about how could they not take the ball (after winning the coin toss in overtime)?
“It was such a close game,” Tannenbaum continued, “but I thought Knowshon Moreno’s production was kind of dictating what they were gong to do.”
But just who was doing the dictating? Was it Moreno? Or was it Bill Belichick?
“I know when we were (facing) guys like Peyton or Tom Brady, we wanted them to run the ball,” Tannenbaum said. “We would play with nickel and dime players and go a lot smaller because we felt every time they would run the ball, that’s one less time they throw it. And that could have very well been part of Coach Belichick’s strategy last night.”