January 12, 2014 in Sports

No QB has Manning’s playoff experience, heartbreak

Chargers at Broncos

Kickoff: 1:40 p.m.  TV: CBS

Line: Broncos by 9; O/U: 54 1/2

Weather: Clear, calm wind, low 30s

Synopsis: Denver has the NFL’s top offense, but SD contained it Dec. 12, upsetting the Broncos 27-20 in Denver. And earlier in the season the Chargers “held” the Broncos to 28 points, albeit in a loss, but that was nearly 10 under their season average. Still, look for a shootout here, given the expected favorable weather.

Pick: Broncos 38-31.

Dan Caesar, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

DENVER – No quarterback has been to the playoffs more than Peyton Manning or experienced more heartache there, either.

Only once in his previous dozen trips to the postseason has Manning put his fingerprints on the Lombardi Trophy.

His 9-11 postseason record stands in stark contrast to his 167-73 regular season mark and includes eight exits in his team’s playoff opener, none more scarring than last year’s AFC divisional-round home loss to Baltimore as the AFC’s top seed.

He also lost his first playoff game in Indianapolis as the No. 1 seed after the 2005 season, then bounced back to win it all the next year. Since then, he’s won just two of seven playoff games and lost his last three.

Manning set a slew of records this season, including 55 TD passes and 5,447 yards through the air as the Broncos became the highest-scoring team of the Super Bowl era. Five players scored 10 or more touchdowns. No team in history had ever had more than three.

Yet for all his records and all his greatness, Manning’s fault-finders point to his cold-weather record – it’s 4-7 in sub-freezing temperatures at kickoff – and his playoff pratfalls – his 11 losses are tied with Brett Favre for most in NFL history – to suggest he won’t cap it all off with a championship in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city next month.

Here’s the thing about the cold: In many of those games, Manning had the lesser team. That’s why he was on the road.

And in the playoffs, you could point the finger at his supporting cast as much as you could at him, if not more.

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