Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Divisional Playoff
ENGLEWOOD—Much as the Denver Broncos try to balance how quarterback Peyton Manning takes the snap, the New England Patriots are not likely to fooled in their assumption from where he likes to pass and from where he is likely to handoff.
In the Broncos’ 23-16 victory Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a second-round AFC playoff game, Manning took 36 snaps from the shotgun (counting his successful 2-point conversion) and 36 snaps from under center.
A breakdown of those snaps reveals tendencies that will shock no one: The Broncos run much more often, and with greater efficiency, when Manning takes the snap from directly under center. And Manning passes more often, and with greater productivity, from the shotgun.
While Manning was under center against the Steelers, the Broncos rushed 28 times for 101 yards. From the shotgun they had just five rushing attempts for 8 yards.
Also while under center, Manning was 5 of 8 passing for 75 yards. From the shotgun he was 16-of-29 for 147 yards, plus the 2-point conversion pass to Demaryius Thomas.
It’s almost as if the Broncos let the Steelers know whether they were running or passing based on where Manning took the snap. To which, New England head coach Bill Belichick might say: So?
“Look, just because they know you’re in something isn’t always the worst thing in the world,” Belichick told the New England media in his press conference Monday. “All good teams have tendencies. All good players have tendencies. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It means you’re doing something well.
“At some point it’s going to come down to you have to play well. You have to do what you do well well than what they try to do against it. I think there are elements of all those things in a game. You certainly don’t want to make it easy for them, but you can outsmart yourself sometimes by trying to play too much of a mind game.
“Manning’s a great quarterback. He’s a hard guy to fool. He has seen it all.’’
(© 2016 KUSA)