Peyton Manning has a good reason to be angry.
His Denver Broncos are in line for a top seed in the playoffs and he remains on pace for more NFL records. Yet doubts still persist about whether he can play well when it really matters: in cold weather around the Christmas holidays. Manning has choice words for those critics.
“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning said.
Manning had one of his best performances of the season in last Sunday’s 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans that officially clinched a playoff berth for the Broncos. He threw for 397 yards, four touchdowns, completed 66 percent of his passes and registered team records of 39 completions off 59 throws. Manning, along with head coach John Fox, were questioned heading into the game about Manning’s ability to play in frigid weather — given the Broncos’ run-heavy game plan in a Nov. 24 loss at New England and Denver’s playoff loss to Baltimore in January.
Manning said he wasn’t trying to answer his critics with his performance.
“I mean, I wasn’t trying to answer the criticism because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place. We had a good plan and guys caught the ball well.”
Manning’s precision passing against the Titans, when the temperature at kickoff was 18 degrees and only got colder as the game progressed should quiet the questions – at least until the next brutally cold or exceptionally windy forecast.
The forecast high for Thursday, when Denver hosts the San Diego Chargers, is 47 degrees, though it should be colder at kickoff after sunset. Fox said weather is not a factor for Manning.
“I think the better he continues to play in the cold, the less chatter there will be about that. I was asked about it before and after, and I’m just really glad he’s on our side,” Fox said. “I don’t really care about the weather.”