No QB has a worse grade right now than Peyton Manning

Denver's Peyton Manning is tied with Houston's Ryan Mallett for the lowest QB grade in the NFL through two weeks.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

No QB has a worse grade right now than Peyton Manning

Ryan Mallett, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston – all these names make sense to be found at the bottom of the PFF quarterback rankings, but the name of the player tying Mallett for the lowest-graded quarterback in the NFL through the first two games is one that doesn’t: Peyton Manning.

Through two games Manning has a -7.4 grade, the same negative mark as Mallett and lower than any other quarterback in the league. He has completed just 58.8 percent of his passes (he is a career 65.4 percent passer), thrown for just 5.1 yards per attempt and has a passer rating of just 74.2 (his career rate is 97.3).

So what exactly has happened to one of the greatest passers in NFL history? His arm strength right now is horrendous, but that is nothing new. If you fire up any game since his comeback from injury you’ll find lame-duck passes a plenty and arm strength that would make Kellen Moore feel warm and fuzzy.

Last season, Manning’s downturn in form was blamed on an injury late in the year that hampered him, but the PFF grades saw a notable dip before that injury was ever a factor. Having led the league in PFF grade the previous two seasons, Manning was just 6th in the QB rankings after the first half of the season – the half he was healthy – putting up spectacular numbers but not quite matching them with his play.  Over the second half of the season he was the 17th-graded passer, two places below the Titans’ Zach Mettenberger. His passer rating had dropped more than 30 points, and while he was still completing a high percentage of his passes, he was making far more mistakes, too.

Much of this was dismissed as the effects of the injury, but those issues have continued this season, even if the cause may be different. A theoretically healthy Manning is now in a new offense that does not play to his strengths, and seems to have left him uncomfortable and unsure of himself.

While before he was one of the best players in the league at dealing with pressure and making use of his checkdown receivers, he has already been sacked seven times in 2015 (having been taken down 28 times in 2014 and an average of just 19.5 the previous two seasons in Denver). Manning has looked unable to operate Gary Kubiak’s scheme with the same efficiency and familiarity he could operate the previous one. That’s hardly surprising when you consider that Manning has run more or less the same offense for much of his career. Suddenly asking him to learn a new scheme 18 years into his career is a big ask.

Maybe there is hope if Manning is allowed to run the offense he is more familiar with. The second half of the Chiefs game seemed a far more Manning-influenced offense than a Kubiak one, and Manning seemed at least to be more comfortable within it – though there was statistically almost no difference between the two.

On the other hand, maybe Manning has simply reached the tipping point that all players reach when Father Time stands up and delivers the knockout blow they cannot recover from.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    As Jim Mora would no doubt say – Grades? Don’t talk about grades…are you kidding me? Peyton Manning is headed for the HOF (with a brief pitstop at the bank to count his millions). Don’t expect him to lose any sleep over grades.

    • chris

      you seem angry and to be taking this personally. no one doubts he is a HOFer, he has had a bad start to this season.

      • trueblue

        Manning will be fine. You watch.

    • jojomellon

      ummmm…. Nobody is talking about his career. They’re talking about this season. And this season, he’s been the worst QB in the league. What dont you understand?

      • crosseyedlemon

        Two bad games and suddenly Manning is worthless…lol. The people who are crucifying him probably would have sent Secretariat off to the glue factory after 2 off races too.

        • steve

          Age is finally catching up to him.Every great qb has to retire at some point.He’s almost 40! Even Elway,Marino and Kelly were all retired at his age.Time to hang up the cleats.You don’t want to embarrass yourself by playing too long like Favre did.

  • Houston Brummette

    Who cares what his quarterback rating is this year he is a winner nobody runs the 2 minute offense in the shotgun better than him in the 4th quarter he wins games. And also defense wins games and we have one of the top-rated defenses in the NFL right now go Broncos what’s the work in progress we will get better as the season progresses and so will Peyton and is statistics that seems to be what everybody cares about

    • jojomellon

      Ugh. Homer-ism at its worst. You know, being a fan of a team doesnt mean you also have to be blind and delusional.

    • jojomellon

      And if he’s a winner, why does his brother have 2 rings and he just 1? 1 ring in 18 seasons. Two superbowl losses and COUNTLESS playoff choke jobs.

      • trueblue

        if you think Eli is better than Peyton, then you better go back to school. Atleast Manning STILL gets to the play-offs, while the Giants the last 4 years have finished with LOSING seasons. Thats the stupidest comment Ive read in a long time.
        Peyton is going to the HOF. Eli can only dream of being there. Thats a fact!

        • jojomellon

          When did I say Eli was better than Peyton? Reading comprehension must not be your strong suit. First of all, last I checked school doesn’t teach how to evaluate American football, so I’m not sure how that would help me. Second, I’m pretty sure that being happy just making the playoffs is sort of aiming low, is it not? The point of sports is to win the last game of the year, the championship. Eli has won twice. Peyton once. Hurray for Peyton putting up pretty stats but stats don’t help you win in January and February and his career has been living proof of that. Peyton Manning is much better than Eli, I never said the opposite. Eli’s teams were probably better than Peyton’s thus the two superbowl wins. But there’s no disputing the fact that Peyton goes into the shitter when the playoffs hit. The past 3 years have shown that. His whole CAREER has shown that. Hell, his only superbowl win was over perhaps the worst superbowl team in history, the REX GROSSMAN led 2006 Chicago Bears. And even in that game, Peyton played pretty pedestrian. It’s bizarre that you seem to favor padding stats over actually winning championships. You probably think Dan Marino is a better QB than Eli Manning too, don’t you? Stats are great in fantasy football. Give me championship wins. Call me crazy.

          I was merely trolling the Broncos homer who is under the delusion that 2004 Peyton is going to be under center next week and lead these Broncos back to yet another playoff loss this year.

          P.S. – Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame Quarterback too, by the way. Name me another QB with two Superbowl rings and 40,000 passing yards NOT in the HOF. I’ll wait while you do…

          • trueblue


    • trueblue

      finally,someone that knows what they are talking about

  • wisconsinsteelerfan

    It’s pleasantly surprising that he’s made it this long, but it’s probably time for him to give Osweiler a chance in Denver.

    • trueblue

      Osweiler . Are you serious. You did watch him play in pre-season,didnt you? Come on. I bet your a Tebow fan if you have that taste in QBs

      • jojomellon

        You’re. The contraction is you’re. You’re a Tebow fan. He doesn’t own ‘a Tebow fan’. By the way, if you’re going to cite preseason stats as a reason to slam Osweiler, you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. The dude completed 65% of his passes, 7.1 YPA, 3tds to 1int, took only 1 sack and had a QB rating of 94. He posted better numbers than Manning in every category, even took less sacks, and yes, he did play against starters so throw that argument out the window as well.

        • trueblue

          shut up

        • trueblue

          Im not a Te-Blow fan either! But it sounds like you are. Go root for him on the station he does college football game commentaries. What a great football player he is!! LOL

        • trueblue

          are you a dorky school teacher by the way with the grammar sh**!

        • trueblue

          put you pocket protector away and take off your thick rimmed glasses with the english grammar. In starting to picture you walking around the halls in school with your pants hiked hiked up high

      • wisconsinsteelerfan

        It doesn’t matter how good or bad he was. His ceiling is higher right now – and that’s what the team needs… someone right NOW.

        The Broncos aren’t built to win in 2018. They’re built to win in 2015.

        • Tim Edell

          Osweiler will NOT take the Broncos farther then what Manning will. All these people say its the end of him, including PFF, are the same ones who said Brady was done after the Chiefs game last year.

  • Kevin

    People seem upset over this. Sure, you don’t like grades, especially when they reflect poorly on a player on your favorite team. Ignore the grades if you want but one thing you can’t do is ignore how bad Manning has looked over nearly the last year. Ive always enjoyed watching him run an offense and dominate defenses like very few qbs have been able to do but those times are over. Far from it actually. Now it’s reached a point where I’m not even sure if he should be starting anymore. It’s almost amazing how pathetic his arm has looked but even more surprising is his decision making. Idk if he is trying to make up for his arm by making bold decisions that haven’t worked out or if his decisions have really just taken that drastic of a 180. Either way his time is over and broncos missed their window.

    • Tom Kislingbury

      Well said. I’ve been amazed for years how angry people get at PFF. You have to wonder why they tend to react like that

      • trueblue

        because they are idiots. Manning might not be playing lie he used to, but when it counts, he knows how to get it done. Just like tonights Vikings game. In spite of 2 INTs (but 1 TD) he brought the Broncos to score the game winning field goal, and the defense got his back at the end. Team Win!! When will people stop whining because the Broncos are winning!

    • trueblue

      tell me about it in January,Einstein!!!??? LOL And by the way, please dont watch anymore. Youll do the Broncos a favor

  • VonSwenson

    What about the perfectly thrown fifty yard pass from Manning to Sanders with two minutes to go in the first quarter that the Chiefs safety amazingly knocked out of his hands? Is that really “horrendous” arm strength?

    • PFFSamMonson

      Honestly, arm strength shows up the least on deep passes. It’s not actually that hard to get the ball to travel 50 yards in the air, it’s far harder to get it to travel 15 yards with SERIOUS velocity. That is where his lack of arm shows up, not in deep passes.

      • VonSwenson

        OK, good answer. I’ll watch for that from now on.

  • Malachi

    chiefs and ravens D has something to do with this, let’s check back in at the bye after denver plays the lions, vikings, browns and raiders

  • Will

    This may very well be true. I am a Manning fan so you may chalk this up to just another PM guy who hates everyone who doesn’t say Manning is the best. I have a problem with looking at 2 games worth of stats and decide that he is the worst QB in the league. The same way we can’t look at Mariota and crown him as the new king of QB’s (which his stats might indicate in your grade?). You may be right it may be the end. I believe that Manning deserves the opportunity to play as long as he feels he is making a difference. Regardless of what you may believe I can say with 100% confidence there are many teams in the league that would take him over their current QB.

  • maoigbfan

    He will bounce back, my thorough argument is that a player of his caliber cannot go this way…

    It would be interesting what the experts that claim that “A is better than B because he’s got more rings” “Manning is the best in the regular season but isnt ‘clutch’ enough when it matters” have to say if the Broncos win it all with a not elite Manning season.

  • Brit

    You don’t need a ratings system to see that Peyton Manning has looked bad. Maybe he can turn it around and adjust to his bad arm strength (ala Chad Pennington). Right now, he’s lost though.

  • Thomas Bell

    Guilty. It’s an emotional topic for those of us who have idolized Peyton for the past 15 years. And I can’t help but feeling that Americans love to watch someone who has achieved greatness in their life, fall from grace. Mick Jagger. Brett Favre. Bill Clinton. We get it. His skills are declining.You’d have to be blind or high not to.

    Still, there’s a snarky, sensational, told-you-so tone this piece. (to my orange ears anyway.) We get that 17th is 17th….hammer the point home by bringing Zach Metzenburger into it. It doesn’t mention the horrid OL play, and the strength of the first two opponents’ defense. Doesn’t mention two ver strong performances (Miami/Oakland) in the second half of last season. The author didn’t mention that the same PFF scoring system also has Denver at #3 in the power rankings. Obviously, that’s based primarily on the defense. But would the same Denver squad led by Mallet still merit that rank?

    Rivers, Eli and Brees all had opportunities to lead their teams to victory on the final drive — and squandered it, while Wilson, Flacco and Luck haven’t done enough for their teams to earn a single win.