Stafford calls Manning's season 'awesome'

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is putting together one of the all-time great passing seasons through the first month of this year and even his opponents are impressed by it.

Among them is Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“It’s awesome. I’m happy for him. He’s a great player,” Stafford said. “One of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks of all time and a guy that growing up I watched and really tried to study his game as much as you can. The guy’s a great thinker, a great mind and obviously can put the ball wherever he wants.”

Manning has completed 75 percent of his passes this season (117-of-156) for a NFL-best 1,470 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The real eye-popping stat -- he’s thrown zero interceptions and has a passer rating of 138.

His numbers could be even better, too, as Manning’s pass-catchers have dropped 5.1 percent of his throws. Three of Manning’s receivers -- Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker -- all have 24 or more receptions through four games.

“He’s got some weapons there this year that he hasn’t had in a while,” Stafford said. “And he’s making teams pay for it.”

Manning leads the league in almost every passing category, but Stafford is actually doing better than him in a couple of areas.

Manning is second to Stafford in sacks per drop-back -- Stafford has been sacked 1.9 percent of the time to Manning’s 3.1 percent. Stafford also is getting rid of the ball faster than Manning, throwing the ball 2.75 seconds after the snap to Manning’s 2.82 seconds.