Pewter Report Intern
The Bucs will face arguably their toughest challenge of the season when they kickoff against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Broncos boast one of the league's toughest stadiums for opponents, two great pass rushers, not to mention of the best QBs to ever play the game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face arguably their toughest challenge all year in the Denver Broncos. They have the most complete team on the Bucs’ schedule this year, including the best defense the Bucs have yet to face.
Oh, and they have this guy named Peyton Manning too.
Not many people predicted that after a season-ending neck injury that threatened his career, Peyton Manning would come back and play at such an elite level again. He would be playing with an entirely new team after playing with the Indianapolis Colts for 13 years. A year off of football, new coaches, new players, and a new home doesn’t usually pan out to be a potential MVP season.
“Obviously it’s unchartered territory for me, being with a new team [and] missing an entire season,” Manning said. “Everyday I think I learn something new about my teammates, our system here, how the Denver Broncos operate. I learn something about myself physically. I continue to have to do rehab. It’s very much a process going back to when I got here and still continues today. And it’s a challenge, but it’s one that I try to attack every day.”
When players miss and extended period of time due to injury, they usually aren’t the same when they come back. Going into the 2012 season, many experts questioned Manning’s arm strength. Those questions quickly ceased as people realized that Manning is still just as good as he’s ever been.
“At this time, it’s a totally new chapter of my football career and I’m trying to be the best quarterback I can be in this chapter,” Manning said. “I’m really not trying to outdo the player that I was earlier in my career.”
The red-hot Broncos come in to Sunday’s game vs. the Buccaneers with a six game winning streak. During that win streak, Manning has thrown 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while having an impressive passer rating of 110.
“They are 8-3,” Coach Greg Schiano said. “So three teams figured out a way to do it. That is our goal. We are trying to be the fourth.”
Based on the Bronco’s last game, the Bucs could very well be the fourth. While they did come out with a win against the abysmal Kansas City Chiefs, there were definitely chinks in the armor. The Bucs easily the Chiefs in week six 38-10, while the Broncos stumbled passed them last week 17-9. Manning looked pretty human with a 90.5 passer rating, as well as two touchdowns and an interception.
Regardless of that, the Bucs’ secondary and defensive line is really going to need to step up if they hope to come out with a win.
“We know he’s going to make some throws,” Schiano said. “You’d like them to not be the big plays. If you can limit the big plays and let them catch the ball underneath we’ll have to tackle well. When we play man to man coverage we’re going to have to be on our guys and try to deny him the ball and when we have deep safety help we’re going to have to use that help.”
The Buccaneers will look to grab the nation’s attention and prove themselves as a true playoff contender this Sunday vs. the Denver Broncos. The Bucs will have their hands full playing against Peyton Manning, who is undefeated against Tampa Bay since joining the league.–Mark Cook contributed to this report
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