I've been the first one defending Peyton Manning's intellect and on-field leadership abilities here. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if he won a few battles and lost the war.
We're seeing, with no running game and scrap heap receivers he's really struggling to make throws and lead the offense.
Obviously he's working in rough conditions, but what do you think about this idea: That essentially being his own Offensive Coordinator for the past decade has stifled his learning curve?
Think about it. We now see (and many defenders are saying) how predictable his play calls are - thus the reason for so many interceptions. The biggest difference is that previously he had fantastic receivers whose crisp routes could overcome the predictable play calling. The old, "you know what the Colts are going to do, but you still can't stop it."
Now that this factor is no longer in effect, perhaps Manning does not possess the tools to spin straw into gold? Maybe his innate abilities have actually kept him from learning some of the tricks of the trade as an NFL QB, which would come in handy when the system breaks down.