Sunday, Peyton Manning did something that showed what an incredible career he had. He broke Brett Favre's NFL passing mark to become the NFL's all-time leader. It's a testament to everything Manning has done, year after year after year.
On the same day, Manning had the worst game of his career, by pretty much every statistic we consider.
Manning went 5-for-20 with 35 yards and four interceptions before being benched for Brock Osweiler.
Manning's previous career-worst QB rating was 35.0, in a December 2001 Colts loss to the Dolphins. Today? 0.0. Zero point zero. QB rating is a funky stat: If you go 0-for-100 passing, your QB rating is 39.6, because you didn't throw any interceptions. It is hard to get 0.0, but Manning did it Sunday.
Manning is the first QB to have a rating of 0.0 in a game since 2007, when Chris Redman did it. Here's the full list of players to accomplish the feat. You'll notice that Peyton joins his brother Eli and his father Archie -- quite a family affair -- as well as Ryan Leaf, finally united with Peyton at long last.
Manning had never thrown fewer than 95 yards in a game he legitimately tried to play. Twice, he started a Week 17 game before the playoffs and came out after a single drive. But in his other 286 career games, his worst effort was 95 yards. Sunday, he had just 35.
Manning had thrown four picks in a game before -- in fact, he'd done it six times, plus one in the playoffs. He even threw six interceptions in 2007. But in every other game he'd thrown a ton of picks, he'd thrown the ball a ton, at least 44 times in each game. In past games he'd thrown a ton of picks, he'd moved the ball well, at least 285 yards in each game. And in past games he'd thrown a ton of picks, he'd thrown at least one touchdown. None of those things was true Sunday against the Chiefs.
In past years, Manning occasionally sprinkled horrible games amidst his brilliance. Nowadays, that doesn't seem the case. He's leading the league in interceptions with 17. His yards-per-attempt before the game was just 7.1, a drop of nearly a yard since last year and the second-worst rate since his rookie year.
And perhaps most importantly, his passes just haven't looked good. For a few years, Manning has been criticized for throwing "ducks," passes without a lot of zip, but it seemed silly as he still tore up opposing defenses. Now his throws are floating higher and sailing longer. They're putting his wide receivers in more dangerous situations.
Manning is one of the best the sport has ever known, but he's just not playing like it anymore. His record-setting day also being the worst game he's ever played is a testament to the amazing career he's had -- but the key word is "had."