Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

09 Dec 2010

Peyton's Problem? He Only Trusts Wayne

A little warm-up for Walkthrough: count the number of times Peyton Manning stares down Reggie Wayne before throwing an interception.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 09 Dec 2010

14 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2011, 8:59am by Paul78


by DavidL :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 8:47am

It's a good article, but I'm pretty sure Manning isn't coming off two straight 500-yard, 4-TD games.

by MCS :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 9:00am

I think he meant three weeks.

by Lebo :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 10:35am

If you include his interceptions then he's got 806 yards and eight touchdowns in the past two weeks.

by Independent George :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 10:36am

It's technically three games over a two-week span; Sunday-to-Sunday is eight days, and three games come in the span of 15 days (or, two weeks plus one).

by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 11:35am

I wish the media would stop throwing Anthony Gonzalez's name out there like he's someone important. He hasn't played in what? Two years? He's irrelevant in this entire discussion.

by coboney :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 11:52am

The point here made was that Gonzalez had been in a lot of practices and worked up a rapor with Manning meaning he's more likely to trust him to be in the right place at the right time.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 12:39pm

He was very productive when he did play though, pretty reliable but unspectacular (like Collie). Unlike someone like Garcon who has all kinds of ability, but very unreliable.

by jebmak :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 11:52am
by Maccopple (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 1:10pm

Ahh, Bob Lamey. I'm surprised he didn't actually say that on the air. His in-game indignation when things go south is always fun.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 12:38pm

Mike is positive about the Colts' outlook, but I don't see a lot of their weapons coming back anytime soon. Collie might be coming back, but Gonzalez and Clark are done for the season. Addai could return, but then there's the O-line to consider.

Maybe the Titans are in freefall, but so are the Colts. And neither the Jaguars nor the Raiders could be so described. The Raiders just manhandled a team (the Chargers) that had beaten the Colts with ease one week before. I think the Colts match up poorly there.

And the Colts really don't have a chance in hell of making the playoffs as a wild card at 9-7. The Ravens are not going to go 1-3 against the Texans, Bengals, Browns, and Saints.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 12:42pm

Agreed. Their only shot at the playoffs is winning the division. They do still control their own destiny, they win it by going 4-0. I think it is very possible if they can just stop turning the ball over.

by JPS (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 1:38pm

Nice, Tanier, VERY nice. This gives me a key that is easy to look for when I see the Colts next, but I wouldn't have thought to look for it before reading this.

by James (not verified) :: Thu, 12/09/2010 - 1:48pm

This doesn't follow. Your premise is Manning stares down Wayne and that's why he throws picks, but that doesn't seem to be the problem. Below are the four picks from the Cowboys game.

1. A deep pass down the left numbers to Reggie Wayne off play-action, intercepted by safety Alan Ball. IMO, not a terrible interception because the corner was beat and Alan Ball isn't a good safety and you don't expect him to make the play from the opposite hash. It is true Manning didn't look anywhere else after the play-fake and had time on the play.

2. This is the play you described in the article. I don't see how looking at Wayne, presumably the primary receiver on the play, led to the pick. Manning looked at Wayne, decided he was covered, and then threw the checkdown at White without even looking. Yes, if the play was designed to go to Blair White, Manning should have looked off Scandrick, but that's not what happened. Alternately, he could have thrown to Tamme in the middle, but he did have pressure coming from Demarcus Ware.

3. Blair White ran a route up the field from the slot, and the pass was intercepted by linebacker Sean Lee playing zone in the middle. Manning stared down White the whole time, pumped outside to move the corner, and then threw it inside. Manning never saw Lee, and was hit after the throw.

4. Tamme ran a corner route and the pass was deflected by corner Jenkins and intercepted by Lee. Jenkins was assigned to cover Wayne who ran a in-route, but read the pass to Tamme, pulled off Wayne and deflected the ball. Lee was assigned Tamme but was following the play and happened to be in the right place at the right time. Manning looked a Tamme the whole play but it was quick release, and would have been sacked had he held on any longer.

I think you could definitely say 1 and 3 were because Manning was staring down his receivers, but 3 seems mainly because Manning didn't know where White was running his route (and he talked to him immediately after the play). You could also say 4 is because Manning stared down his receiver, but I believe more credit lies with Jenkins seeing the play and gambling he could make the stop. 2, your example in the article, seems the least deserving.

Although I agree that it's a result of losing so many offensive players (both skilled and OLine) and staring down receivers, it doesn't seem like it's just Wayne that Manning is staring down. It seems more likely Manning doesn't feel he has enough time in the pocket to look defenders off, or uncertainty over where his receivers are going.

If you want a counter-example, Manning perfectly looks off Ball on his touchdown pass to Wayne.

Game highlights can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1khrdiAEEZ8

by Paul78 :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:59am

Paul Lucas he didnt trust wayne when playing jets[revis] and look were it got him he spreads the ball around as much as any QB. and te tamme had more recepts 67 than any other in 2nd half of season.