ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The Denver Broncos are steamed over suggestions by Peyton Manning’s critics that the four-time MVP crumbles in the cold.
Manning, who spent his first 14 seasons playing his home games inside a dome in Indianapolis, has a 3-7 career record, including playoffs, in games in which the temperature at kickoff was 32 degrees or below.
In all other games, he’s 170-76.
With the Broncos, Manning has lost two notable cold-weather games, at home in double-overtime against Baltimore in the playoffs and in overtime at Foxborough, Mass., two weeks ago. He also beat Kansas City in cold weather at home last season.
The forecast for Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High against Tennessee calls for temperatures in the mid-teens with snow and light wind, an improvement over the near-zero temperatures they practiced in this week.
Manning said this week he didn’t feel he was a different player in the cold weather. Asked to elaborate, Manning added only, “That’s not how I feel, so … did I miss the question?”
The Broncos were in position to win both their playoff game against the Ravens in January and their game at New England last month, which came down to Rahim Moore’s botched coverage on a Hail Mary pass and a blunder by punt returner Wes Welker, respectively.
Against Baltimore, Manning threw for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns and against the Patriots, he led a late TD drive to send it into overtime.
“If we won those games, we wouldn’t be talking about weather right now,” coach John Fox said.
Titans coach Mike Munchak talked about the weather all week, saying he hoped for snow, wind, sleet, anything to slow down Denver, which is averaging 38.6 points a game.
The one who gave the most impassioned defense of Manning this week was the man who will be calling the plays Sunday when the Broncos (10-2) take on the Titans (5-7).
“I’ve only been around him two years but the thing that probably (ticks) me off more than anything is the fact that I don’t want anybody else as my quarterback,” offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. “I’m going to go in with him every Sunday and it’s a great feeling to have. When you have him back there, you know your chances of winning are pretty good. And when you don’t have a guy like that? I’ve been in that spot a lot, and it (stinks), when you know you walk in there and you don’t have a shot. I’ll take him any day of the week.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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