No arm strength. A lack of confidence. He’s done.

Yes, I just channeled my inner Jason Whitlock – fun in small doses – but he wasn’t alone. Peyton Manning was written off after a spectacularly poor performance against the Atlanta Falcons two weeks ago. Though the scab referees and their inability to do their jobs overshadowed the proceedings, Manning’s three interceptions coupled with an alarming inability to throw the deep ball was the biggest takeaway from that Monday night encounter.

Last week Manning performed admirably in a close loss to the Texans – though his touchdowns came late in a game that was pretty much already decided.

Talk of his problems with the deep ball was brought to John Fox’s attention in the lead up to today’s game against the Raiders. Fox responded with a sardonic laugh:

So Broncos coach John Fox was asked about a purported lack of arm strength in his quarterback. Fox huffed, laughingly. “The people,” Fox said, “that look at the tape and study it would think it’s semi-comical.”

As noted by SB Nation’s Avinash Kunnath, Football Outsiders placed Manning in the top ten of NFL QBs. Facing the 29th-ranked pass defense in the league, the Denver signal caller would have a chance to prove he was all the way back.

He most certainly did.

He went 28 for 36 with 338 passing yards and three touchdowns in a laugher at Mile High Stadium. Next week the Broncos travel to New England in what will be a highly-anticipated matchup of two .500 teams – you don’t say that very often. Though the Pats D came away with four interceptions in Buffalo, that was a product of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s lack of consistency.

The skeptics will remain – again, Oakland isn’t very good – but it’ll be very interesting to see two old foes face off under very different circumstances. Brady and Manning, together again.

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