Posted Wed Aug 1st by Monty
60 yards, 70 seconds, seven points.
That was the situation the Broncos gave quarterback Peyton Manning. Move down the field 60 yards, score a touchdown in under 1:10, or lose the game. It was Manning’s first chance in training camp to execute his legendary two-minute drill.
Manning did not disappoint. Here’s the breakdown:
1st and 10 from the 40 – Manning throws deep to Demaryius Thomas, who might have been able to dive for it, but fails to haul it in. Incomplete.
2nd and 10 – Manning aims for Andre Caldwell with a short pass, but it was expertly broken up by Champ Bailey. Incomplete.
3rd and 10 – Again solid coverage prevents Manning’s pass from gaining ground. This time Chris Harris had Brandon Stokley well covered. Incomplete.
4th and 10 – This is it. Go big or go home. Manning and company did the former, as #18 delivered a beautiful deep ball to Brandon Stokley, who caught it down the right seam just as he was tackled but held on. It was a mightily impressive 26-yard gain, moving the chains.
It was easily the play of practice, as safety Mike Adams relented.
“Impressive,” Adams said. “Peyton, he gets the offense going, and once he gets it going, you don’t have time to make that call and there’s a problem.”
The Broncos had life, but the four plays had sucked up half the remaining game clock. They now had less than 35 seconds to move 34 yards. Completion, 26 yards. First down.
1st and 10 from the 34, ~35 seconds remaining – Manning jostled in the pocket but ultimately threw it away. Incomplete.
2nd and 10 – After a defensive timeout, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas down the left sideline for 10-15 yards, but the receiver broke free of his tackler and zoomed down the sideline. It was a race for the end zone as a Broncos safety sprinted to stop Thomas; the “line judge” (an assistant coach) ruled Thomas out at the 1.
(Editor’s note: I’m not sure Thomas missed that end zone. He was definitely tip-toeing that sideline those last five yards, but he looked in to me. Whether he legitimately stepped out or the Broncos decided to manufacture a little more pressure on the offense, he was called out at the one.)
Now the Broncos didn’t just have life; they were threatening. Completion, 33 yards. First down.
1st and Goal from the 1, less than 15 seconds remaining – Manning aimed for Thomas again, but the pass falls. Incomplete.
2nd and Goal – Manning hits Stokley with less than seven seconds remaining, and that’s all she wrote. Bring on Matt Prater for the game-winning extra point.
All-in-all, Manning went three for seven in the two-minute drill, but he traveled the team 60 yards and into the end zone for a 113.1 passer rating.
More importantly, he and the Broncos won the “game,” the very reason they pursued the veteran free agent in the offseason. Bring on the 2012 regular season.