Manning dials up the humor to lighten Broncos' mood
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Still searching for answers and a rhythm on offense, Peyton Manning at least found his funny bone.
The Broncos' puzzled passer met the media at his locker Tuesday with a carefree smile and bounced back from an icy post-game performance that followed the Broncos' 19-13 victory over Baltimore, one that included none of the usual offensive fireworks.
Hounded first by the boo-birds when the Broncos ran just one red zone play and then by reporters, Manning was acerbic after stretching his streak to 21 drives, including the preseason, without a touchdown celebration.
This time, he delivered a few funny lines and deflected tough questions about this still-evolving offense of blended concepts with a touch of humor.
Asked about landing on the injury report with a sore back courtesy of all those hard hits from the Ravens, Manning decided to deliver his own evaluation of those asking all the questions.
''This is not a healthy group, by any means,'' Manning cracked.
This one surely has gout. Bunions, that one.
Carpel tunnel over here ''from all the texting of his sources.''
And the drive-time radio host, he's got laryngitis ''from ripping me all week'' plus ''the rash that he has that's unidentified.''
''But I never hear you guys complain about it, so I'm not going to complain about it. In many ways, you guys inspire me,'' Manning dead-panned. ''But, no, I was kind of surprised that I was on it, to tell you the truth. But I think like a lot of guys, it was a pretty physical game on Sunday.''
And just like that, Manning went from being the thermometer to being the thermostat, setting the tone for the team instead of reflecting the mood surrounding it.
''I think we have to keep reminding ourselves around here that we did actually win the game and that we are 1-0. Thank goodness because I can't imagine what it would have been like had we lost the game,'' Manning said.
The offense, which includes four new linemen, did do some good things Sunday, like putting together an 11-minute fourth-quarter drive that led to Brandon McManus's fourth field goal.
''I'm sure offensively I speak for a lot of guys that we certainly want to play better. I feel like that Thursday probably couldn't come soon enough,'' Manning said.
The Broncos play at Kansas City (1-0), where a victory would give Manning and the Broncos a record 13th consecutive divisional road win.
First things first.
Finding the end zone is Priority No. 1 for a team that just two years ago became the first in NFL history to crack the 600-point barrier when Manning threw for a record 55 touchdowns.
''Sometimes the best medicine is to get back out there and play as soon as you can,'' Manning said.
And, as he showed Tuesday, sometimes laughter's the best tonic, too.
Notes: ILB Brandon Marshall said one of the screws in his surgically repaired right foot has broken, but he'll try to deal with the discomfort until after the season because surgery to remove it would require a two-month recovery. ... S Darian Stewart (groin) got hurt on the play before his game-winning interception Sunday, something coach Gary Kubiak didn't learn until watching CB Aqib Talib, who was mic'd up for the game, on the team's website.
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