Peyton Manning keeps saying his arm isn't back to 100 percent. Our eyes say this might be true. The numbers say that it doesn't matter.
The Wall Street Journal points out a raft of statistics that show teams are attacking Manning differently without great results. Defenses are blitzing Manning 26 percent more often than they did in 2010 before his neck surgeries.
Manning has responded with a quarterback rating against the blitz that is 12 percent higher than it was in 2010.
Conventional wisdom says Manning is dinking-and-dunking opponents to death. The numbers again say something different. His average completion is actually going further in the air (6.91 yards) than it did in 2010 (6.29 yards.) His average pass attempt actually is slightly shorter this year, but he's been more successful by far when he does go deep.
Manning is averaging 14.7 yards per attempt on throws that go over 20 yards in the air, which is up drastically from 9.8 YPA in 2010. He's completing a far higher percentage when he tries deep passes: 44.9 percent to 26 percent.
Add it all up, and we gain a clearer picture of 2012 MVP candidate Manning. Defenses are attacking him more because they think he's a different quarterback than two years ago. And he's making those defenses pay more often with big plays.