Whereas Newton's athleticism and rocket arm stand out, he suffers from slipshod footwork, a lack of touch and scattershot accuracy. Manning is throwing wounded ducks all over the field, but his offense is knocking down one NFL record after another because of his preternatural touch, accuracy, anticipation, blitz recognition and pre-snap adjustments.
Aftertossingfourtouchdown passes in the 51-48 shootout victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Manning now has more touchdown passes (20) than nine teams managed for the entire 2012 season. Denver's 230 points are the most through five games in NFL history, leaving the Broncos on pace to become the first team to surpass 600 and 700 points in a season.
Saddled with declining physical gifts that would leave most draftniks scoffing, Manning is playing the position better than it ever has been played.
Here's what else we learned:
- Football Outsiders metrics ranked the Broncos just 19th among defenses entering Week 5. An easy schedule masked their deficiencies over the season's first month. They missed too many tackles, had no answer for Dallas' tight ends and generated no pass rush Sunday. Von Miller and Champ Baileywill be welcomed back with open arms.
- Tony Romo is playing at a high level this season and just produced the best game of his career despite the absence of his No. 2 receiver, Miles Austin. Even with three losses, the Cowboys remain the favorites in the NFC East largely because their quarterback severely is outplaying his divisional counterparts.