Peyton Manning is 39 years old. Tom Brady is 38. They’re two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, if not the two greatest quarterbacks of all time. And yet, one of them, Brady, can’t slow down, while the other, Manning, has slowed almost completely.
What is the biggest difference between these two quarterbacks at this stage of their careers?
“Well, as you get older, the worst thing is to have your mind and lose your body, right? Patriots radio analyst Scott Zolak said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “You lose the physical attributes. Brady hasn’t seemed to lose any. If any, it’s been just standard. Same progress across the board. Peyton just doesn’t have any zip on the ball. It seems like every throw, it’s winding up and it’s getting the whole body (behind it). If his feet aren’t set and he’s not stepping into things, (he struggles).
“The play that really pissed me off last weekend was when he took the dive,” Zolak continued. “He had pressure. He missed the corner blitz on the previous drive where William Gay almost took his head off, and then there was pressure from the backside – I think (Lawrence) Timmons was coming – and he took that dive when he fell down. From my ruling, and the way they’re starting to treat quarterbacks in this league, that’s giving yourself up. Then he steps up and hits the pass to Emmanuel Sanders after Pittsburgh quits playing.”
Manning hit Sanders for a 34-yard gain, moving the ball from the Denver 20 to the Pittsburgh 46. It was Denver’s longest play of the day.
“You’re getting to a point where it’s all smoke and mirrors for Peyton Manning,” Zolak said. “The track-meet, up-and-down-the-field, 55-touchdown guy, you watch him. That guy’s long gone.”