Posted by Neil Paine on October 26, 2009
In Peyton Manning's impressive career, his 2004 campaign stands out above all the rest -- that year, he broke Dan Marino's 20-year-old record for TD passes in a season (a record since eclipsed by Tom Brady), and led the league in yards per attempt, passer rating, and net yards (pass yards minus sacks) per dropback. According to Chase's yards above average metric, Manning's 2004 ranks as the 2nd-best season by a quarterback in NFL history.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because Manning '09 is nipping at Manning '04's heels. Following the Colts' 42-6 demolition of the Rams (a game in which he could have had his 6th straight 300-yard game to open the season had the Colts not called off the passing attack for sportsmanship reasons), Manning's current 6-game numbers trail only his 2004 stats in terms of sheer aerial greatness:
In terms of career 6-game starts, Manning's '09 ranks 1st in completion %, 1st in Y/A, 2nd in yards, 2nd in TD, 2nd in passer rating, and 2nd in adjusted YPA. What's even more amazing is that this a 33-year-old Manning we're seeing carve up defenses, not a 28-year-old one. It's going to be entertaining to watch Manning attack opponents -- and his 2004 numbers -- over the course of this season.