DENVER -- Since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos remain winless in AFC West road games. Since Peyton Manning exited following the Super Bowl 50 victory, the Broncos have not reached the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, owning a 14-18 record, including two victories in their last 12 games.
A common thread links the failure: underwhelming quarterback play.
Even in his declining final season, Manning remained effective in the two-minute drill, an intel processor at the line of scrimmage and the clear leader of the offense. His breathtaking four seasons in Denver led to his induction Wednesday in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
For the Broncos to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1972, they need strong quarterback play. They don't need Manning. But they require a reasonable facsimile.