With a vintage performance on Sunday that officially put every defensive back in the NFL on notice, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning wasted little time immediately raising the bar for the Broncos in the AFC West this season.
A comfortable Manning routinely flustered Pittsburgh's defensive front seven with his line adjustments in Sunday night's 31-19 victory, and as Joel Thorman points out in his must-read NFL Debrief, the Pro Bowl signal caller actually looked like a carbon copy of the guy everybody remembers from Indianapolis. "It's awfully difficult to tell the difference between Indy Manning and Denver Manning," Thorman said.
"They look like the same person even though he hadn't played in 600-plus days. That Peyton looks like Peyton -- for one game, at least -- tells us the Broncos are going to be major players in the AFC."
In addition to the momentum-building victory, Manning also hit the 400 career touchdown mark in the game and is now just 20 away from Dan Marino for second all-time. There's simply no denying how much talent is currently on display in the AFC West right now, but a few more games like this and the division might just be Manning's to lose.